Updated December 2021
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Buying guide for Best nose and ear hair trimmers

Personal grooming doesn’t begin and end with stylish haircuts, trendy eyebrow treatments, and mani-pedis. To finish the job properly, sometimes a person must take on some less glamorous assignments, such as removing unsightly tufts of overgrown hairs from the nostrils and ears. The right tool for this task is a specialized gadget known as a nose and ear hair trimmer.

These hairs serve as a first line of defense against dust and other natural contaminants, but as we age, they tend to become thicker and more noticeable to others. Plucking out these unsightly hairs, however, is a painful process and can lead to infections and damaged skin. The judicious use of a sanitary rotary nose hair trimmer is clearly the way to go.

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Many high-end personal grooming kits include nose and ear hair trimmer attachments as part of the set.

Removing nose and ear hair

A person’s nasal passages contain coarse hairs that act as filters to capture dust, pollen, bacteria, and other contaminants before they can enter the respiratory system. These hairs generally grow to a certain length (much like eyelashes and eyebrows) before they fall out naturally and are replaced by new ones. Sometimes this results in unsightly strands of hair at the end of the nostrils. Tufts of unwanted hair can also form in the outer ear canal.

While many people are familiar with the small rotary nose and ear hair trimmers often included in a comprehensive personal grooming kit, there are several popular options when it comes to removing unsightly nasal and ear hairs.

Electric rotary trimmer

This is the type of nose and ear hair trimmer many people find in the health and beauty section of a department store. These models may be battery-powered or corded, but the basic mechanics are the same. They consist of a rounded plastic or metal housing containing a set of sharp trimming blades. The tip is carefully inserted into the nostril or ear canal. Small slits in the housing enable the longest hairs to enter the cutting chamber, and a small motor spins the blades until the hair is sliced off, not pulled out or torn. The high motor speed and easy maneuverability make this a relatively painless process. The trimmer can be rinsed under hot water, brushed out with a special tool, and stored in a larger grooming kit or storage pouch.

Manual rotary clipper

An affordable alternative to the electric trimmer is a manually powered rotary clipper. The user carefully inserts the tip of the clipper into the nostril or ear canal with one hand and rotates the body of the clipper with the other hand. The result is a well-trimmed nose or ear, but many internal hairs still remain. This model does require a learning curve since the clipper must be repositioned manually before additional trimming can happen.

Nose and ear hair trimming scissors

For the more serious personal groomer, many professional hairstyling supply stores offer specialized nose and ear hair trimming scissors. These grooming tools have rounded tips that can be safely inserted into the nostrils or outer ear canal, then opened to capture and cut extraneous hairs. These specialized scissors can be expensive, and many people choose to have a professional barber or hairstylist perform this delicate service.

Nose and ear hair waxing

For the ultimate in nose and ear hair removal, some people choose a professional waxing service. An experienced cosmetologist applies a layer of heated wax to the end of a small stick and carefully inserts it into one nostril at a time. When the wax cools, the stick is forcefully removed from the nostril, ideally with the unwanted nasal hairs attached to it. This process can be painful, and the hairs do eventually grow back, unlike a permanent electrolysis procedure.

Pros and cons of trimming nose and ear hair

Some people view nasal and ear hair trimming as a routine part of their personal grooming regimen. Others might choose to wait until the situation becomes more problematic or unsightly. Not trimming these hairs at all is also an option for some. Here are some pros and cons to consider when deciding whether or not to trim nasal or ear hairs:


  • Trimming nasal and ear hairs improves overall appearance. Many people who are very conscientious when it comes to styling their hair or shaving unwanted facial hair or trimming their eyebrows fail to address the issue of unsightly nasal hairs or tufts of ear hair. Using a nose and ear hair trimmer completes a well-groomed appearance.

  • Nose and ear hair trimmers don’t remove all of the protective hairs in the nose and ears. Using other methods like waxing or tweezing can result in a completely hairless nasal passage or ear canal, which allows dust, pollen, bacteria, and other contaminants to enter the body unchecked and unfiltered.


  • Improperly removing nasal hairs can cause infections. Plucking unwanted nasal hairs manually or cutting with a regular pair of scissors can sometimes cause a very painful infection, which can be challenging to treat. It’s important to use the right equipment that has been properly sanitized.

  • Some nose and ear hair trimmers can be difficult to clean and maintain. Manual or electric rotary models are not disposable by design, so these need to be cleaned and sanitized thoroughly between uses. Also, the blades will get dull over time. While many models include cleaning brushes or break down for easier maintenance, there are some that have a limited life.
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Did you know?
An informal study suggests that many people rate unsightly nasal hair as more offensive than bad breath.

Nose and ear hair trimmer features to consider

Many quality trimmers are inexpensive, but there can be significant differences among models in terms of safety, performance, and durability. Here are some important features to look for when choosing a new nose and ear hair trimmer:

Blade quality

The blades on a rotary trimmer can be difficult to inspect, but you should read the product description provided by the manufacturer to get a sense of the overall blade quality. Stainless steel is a good thing, but so are terms like “medical grade” or “professional grade.” A dull blade will pull or tear hairs rather than cut them quickly and cleanly. This is definitely a consideration when looking at manual rotary-style trimmers.

Rotary speed

The better electric models, whether battery-powered or corded, depend on a high rotary motor speed to improve safety and performance. Sometimes this rotary power is expressed in terms of amperage or as revolutions per minute (rpm). A higher rotary speed reduces the chances of snagging or tearing hairs, which is definitely a good thing.

Cleaning and sanitation

Nose and ear hair trimmers virtually define the word “personal” in “personal grooming.” They will come in direct contact with nasal mucous, earwax, pollen, bacteria, and other unpleasant substances by design. The ideal model should be easy to clean with a brush and sanitized with a cleaning solution. Electric or manual rotary trimmers should come apart easily for more in-depth cleaning and storage.

Stand-alone model or attachment

One important consideration is whether to choose just a rotary trimmer or invest in a larger grooming kit with a nose and ear hair trimming attachment. Stand-alone rotary trimmers are definitely more affordable than a comprehensive set of grooming combs, trimmers, and shavers, but some users might not use a rotary trimmer often enough to justify the separate investment. A more complete grooming kit with a nose/ear grooming option for occasional use could be a better investment over time.


  • Look for a water-resistant model. Cleaning and sanitizing a nose and ear hair trimmer can be very challenging, so some manufacturers address this issue by encasing the rotary blade in a water-resistant housing.

  • Don’t try to remove every hair in the nostril or ear canal. A nose and ear hair trimmer is more like an eyebrow trimmer than a razor. The idea is to reduce the length of the hair to improve appearance, not remove it completely.

  • Keep replacement batteries on hand. Nasal and ear hair trimming is a grooming process that should be fully completed in one session. You don’t want to lose battery power halfway through the routine.

  • Never share a nasal and ear hair trimmer with others. Some people might be comfortable sharing electric shavers or razors or even hairbrushes, but nose and hair trimmers should be treated differently. Even if the unit has been cleaned and sanitized properly, there is still the possibility of cross-contamination to consider.

  • Replace a dull or damaged trimmer as soon as possible. Even the best rotary blades available will eventually get dull or develop nicks and gouges. Battery-powered motors can slow down over time. If your nose and ear hair trimmer starts becoming painful to use, consider replacing it. Nose and ear hair follicles can easily become infected if the hairs are forcibly pulled from the root or the skin is damaged by a dull blade.
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Using a rotary nose and ear hair trimmer is much more sanitary than manual plucking or tweezing.


Q. How can I tell if my nose hairs need to be trimmed? I’m not in the habit of checking that sort of thing when I groom myself in the morning.

A. For many people, nose and ear hair growth isn’t problematic until it becomes visible. Try pressing each nostril shut while looking in a well-lit mirror. If you can see nasal hairs extending outside the nostril, it is most likely time for a trim. If you can see tufts of hair extending out of the ear canal, you might want to consider a trim. Otherwise, out of sight is often out of mind.

Q. Can I get an infection from using someone else’s trimmer?

A. Ear and nose trimmers can be sanitized between uses, just like hair clippers or nail clippers, but it’s generally not a good idea to share these tools with others. The nose trimmer itself might be perfectly sanitary, but it may have come in contact with infected skin or hair follicles. The chances of getting an infection might be minimal, but it’s better to play it safe when it comes to personal grooming tools.

Q. If I trim off all of my nasal or ear hairs, aren’t I setting myself up for dust, germs, pollen, and other bad things?

A. The goal of proper nasal or ear hair trimming is to remove just enough hair to improve your appearance, not to strip away all the protection for your nose and ears. Shortening or removing a few extraneous hairs won’t compromise your body’s natural defenses against dust, pollen, and other environmental hazards. You should still have enough intact hairs that will keep working as designed.

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