This is a review of the Braun Silk Epil as well.
I have very dark, coarse hair and sensitive skin. I have always hated shaving and have tried a variety of products over my lifetime. I've never been one for waxing either.
A coworker told me she got an epilator several months ago and I had to try.
The first time I did, I wasn't sure I would live through the experience. For one thing, the Epil is a little noisy and it frightened me a bit. Also, it was paaainful. Like I said, sensitive skin.
Fortunately, I gave it another go, and it's really made my life easier. I find that I have to maintain at least once a week, but usually just because I've missed some spots, which I always used to do with shaving anyhow. I don't know if it's me, but my hair does seem to grow back a little finer, or maybe just that touch ups are much easier than previously, when I had to shave every day, and was still embarrassed to have my boyfriend touch my stubbly legs, or to bare them in a short skirt or on the beach.
I only use the epilator up to my knees. I tried my armpits and it's too much for me. The Silk Epil does come with an electric razor head that I use on my upper legs and bikini line, and I feel it works just fine. I get much less ingrown hairs in general than I did from shaving, and even the electric razor is treating my sensitive bikini zone much nicer.
So, four stars for the Silk Epil (minus one for the slight pain I still get with my sensitive skin).
If you want to try an epilator, I definitely recommend the Silk Epil. It's more expensive than others, but from the reviews I've read, it's a superior product.
Also, two suggestions for first time users:
DON'T use it if you have PMS- you'll be extra sensitive.
Take an ibuprofen or anti-inflammatory half an hour before you use it. It will help.
I know it makes the pain sound awful, but to me it's akin to plucking my eyebrows.
The Silk Epil has significantly improved my legs!
This worked very well, removing most hair on my legs, armpits and bikini area. However, I got horrible ingrown hairs all over that were so unattractive (to the point that I was reluctant to show my skin). I've gone back to shaving. My advice: If you get the odd ingrown hair following waxing, be very suspicious. Give the Epilator a try, but purchase from a place that will accept returns.
Thank you to all of the Make Up Alley contributors who posted comments regarding epilators. I bought the Braun Silk Epil X'elle based on all of the comments posted on this website. and Wow! I am so happy with my Silk Epil - I wish that I bought it years ago.
I have waxed my lower legs and under arms for about 25 years, sometimes I went to salons and sometimes I waxed myself. Sure waxing is painful but funnily enough, you forget about the pain almost immediately and never think about it again. What I really don't like about waxing is how messy it is. I used the water-soluable wax and also the 'Divine Wax' that does not require strips. I found that I would only wax on a day off from work, when I had nothing else to do. Consequently my legs were often way too hairy to allow me to be happily married!
Plug in my Silk Epil and buzz buzz buzz it's done! am using my epilator at least once a week. It isn't painful at all, feels more like little bug bites or little pinches. In any case it is very effective and I highly recommend the product.
For first timers: get your legs waxed about a week before using your epilator, then keep using your epilator once or twice a week and you won't find it too painful at all.
Pamela, Toronto. (had to buy mine online from EBay!)
I tried an Epilady in the 80s, and it felt like someone had coiled my hair in a big fist and twist-pulled it off my body. Gitmo-level torture. I was so pleasantly surprised with this tool. It hurts, but not nearly as bad and it does get easier with time.
I have only used the Braun tool twice on this board's recs, but I'm so excited I want to review anyway. This was great on my legs. It's lasted much longer even than waxing (not sure why), although I've had to make exfoliation a much higher priority to avoid ingrowns, as you don't get the first layer of skin off as with waxing and shaving.
On the underarms. . . extraordinarily painful, and not as long-lasting. Prefer waxing, to have it all off in one go, rather than feeling like I'm being pricked over and over again. The good part is it can pick up hairs at a much shorter length than from waxing, so you don't have to wait until you're hirsute to beautify. [ETA - this gets easier, but it will take of skin in irritated spots]
Overall, a great convenience, especially for the pale and dark-haired like me who have a perpetual 5 o'clock leg shadow. I do worry about getting wince-lines around my eyes from the pain. Not brave enough to use it below the equator yet. Will try to muster the courage and update. Planning to ice the region with a frozen vodka bottle (doubly useful) and use a numbing pre-wax fluid with benzocaine. Either that or will enlist someone to administer what my Dad the former army medic used to call a "GI hypo" and do it for me while I'm unconscious. Someone equally skilled in hand to hand combat and intimate epilation.
ETA: the other day I noticed I'd left this on the coffee table. Probably for a few days. Then this morning I caught myself sniffing a padded bra to see if I could get one more wear out of it. "You know you're a confirmed bachelorette when. . ."
7/25/07: [Signs of Spinsterhood #3: eating two Boca burger patties with American cheese (no bun) for breakfast.] This contraption is definitely not a silver bullet. The ingrowns are a force of nature. I use scrubs, loofah, AmLactin, dry-brushing, etc. and still must tweeze and pick until there are scabs. Not to mention the irritation of so much scrubbing. I guess I really needed the exfoliation of waxing/shaving.
Plus with my hair growing in at different speeds, often I still end up using it several times a week for maintenance. But I will continue to use. Just have to reconcile myself to the fact that the only killer app for my legs is pants. P.S. - I did find a good numbing solution. If it's discontinued I'm going to use "Mandelay", the ointment I had to use on that one boyfriend. It contains the same active ingredient: Benzocaine.
1/9/08: This device has taught me that if ever subjected to torture, I would fold like a house of cards. The numbing solution does nothing, at least for my 'underarms.' However the epilator is still the most effective method I've used for that area. I still wax when I can let it grow because IT HURTS!!!!!!!!! UNCLE!!!!!!!! Screaming helps.
This review is for the Braun Silk-Epil. I've had it for two years now and I love it! I use it on my legs and bikini area. Shaving is not an option for me because my skin gets super irritated afterwards. Red, itchy, welts, etc. I used to get waxed at a salon but that gets expensive after awhile. For one $50 investment 2 years ago I can do my legs and -ahem- with some creative positioning, a full brazilian whenever I feel the need to. I do touch-ups every week. My armpits are too sensitive for this though. Of course, it does hurt but that's to be expected. The epilator removes the hair at the root. I have way fewer ingrowns with this than I did with waxing. My skin remains irritated for a few hours afterward but I only have to deal with that once a week, not every day. The irritation is significantly less compared to shaving. The hair doesn't have to be very long to use this so no growing out period is needed as with waxing. All you need is about 2-3 days growth. It's never pinched my skin. I've been using it regularly for two years and it hasn't broken yet but if it does I will definitely run out to buy a new one. It works great and it's saved me a ton of money, time, and skin irritation.
OMG! This thing is awesome! I bought the Braun X'Elle epilator at Bed, Bath & Beyond for $69.99 U.S. ($85 CDN), and am very happy with it. I was nervous that the pain would be too much for me to handle, but now I'm wondering if the nerves in my legs are dead or something! For years I've shaved, but got really tired of having to do it every other day during the summer. I also get my bikini line waxed during the summer (shaving just caused way too many ingrown hairs). Well, I'll never wax again!
The epilator was somewhat painful on the bikini line, so I'm very careful about that, but nowhere near as bad as waxing. As a few other people reported, certain areas of my legs felt more pain than others. Generally, though, I was surprised at how relatively painless it was. The best way for me to describe is a small pinprick. If you tweeze a hair from your leg, that's more or less what I feel. My knees, the back of my calves, and my upper thighs hurt the most.
After taking off the hair, my skin's red and tingles for an hour or so, but calms down after that. By the next day, I'm great. I just started using this, so we'll see how long I can go between. All in all, very happy with this and totally recommend it!
I bought this after reading the positive reviews here at MUA . . . I don't really wax (I've done it once or twice with those pre-waxed Veet or Sally Hansen strips, but I always get irritated with the process and quit halfway through), and I can't wax even if I wanted to now because I'm on Accutane.
I have very, very pale olive skin with dark hair, and like others here hate going out in the summer without pantyhose because even if I've just shaved closely, you can still see hair or at least bumps on my legs. My underarms are even worse. Thick, dark hair that leaves a shadow . . . I hated wearing tank-tops for that reason. My bikini line gets out of control, and shaving just left razor burn/bumps.
I picked this up from Drugstore.com for only $56 with free shipping and they threw in a Conair personal trimmer, too.
That being said, this thing is a MIRACLE. I was getting ready to head to Florida with my family and whipped out this product a few days before I was scheduled to leave. Please note, I have an EXTREMELY high pain tolerance. And I mean that in the sense that no amount of pain particularly fazes me; I just grit my teeth and get on with it.
Lower legs: not so bad at all. The back of my calves hurt a bit, and you have to make sure to turn it in the right direction and hold it at the right angle, but it was effective and only stung a bit.
Knees: A bit more sensitive. Thighs: Ow. Make sure to follow the instructions, otherwise it won't pull out as much hair. I did this in portions.
Underarms: At this point, I got a big glass of wine and drank about half before diving in. Make sure that the area's clean and dry. My hair was a few millimeters high, and it's thick. It hurt. It also took several swipes to get it all. At first, it seemed like I wasn't getting anywhere, but after about four passes, it all seemed to disappear. No bleeding, thankfully. I washed the area gently and didn't put any deodorant or antiperspirant on that night.
Bikini line: Hurt more than the underarms. It took a lot to get it to remove hair, and some blood rose to the surface, but I survived. I washed this area gently, too. After two days, it was smooth and neat, with no remaining bumps or ingrowns.
I made sure to exfoliate regularly in those areas and moisturize, usually with jojoba oil. I also swam a lot, so the chlorine in the pool probably killed a lot of the bacteria that can cause little bumps. When in doubt, I've heard people suggest spritzing the area with alcohol right after epilating/waxing. Ouch. I also used a razor on my legs to get any fine, tiny hairs I might have missed - I didn't have to do it again for a week.
Overall, I am SO satisfied. I feel like I've found some sort of freedom that I haven't had since before puberty, to be honest. The thought of settling my bare legs on my boyfriend's lap doesn't gross me out anymore. My underarms don't have a shadow and I can go for days without shaving. Even if I could wax, it's so expensive and this is a one-time $56 cost. I might even write Braun a pleased customer letter. Thank God for technology and human innovation!
UPDATE: I've had this product for a couple of months now, and I'm still in love. I took off the part with the rolling massagers on it and use the Pro Clip now (I think that's the name) to get hair that's very, very short. It doesn't hurt nearly as much and the re-growth is sparse and finer - not stubble at all. I still do a cursory shave after I epilate (not directly after - ow) to catch hair I might have missed, and then I'm pretty much set for the week. Same with underarms, which never hurt as much as they did the first time. If your skin isn't too sensitive, you can do them at the first sign of re-growth so you won't have to pull out as much hair all at once ever again. I've done my underarms, taken a shower, and then applied antiperspirant (after applying a cold washcloth for a few seconds) and gone out the door right after without any redness. I still can't bring myself to do more than my bikini line; maybe if I got a wax I'd use it for maintenance. I hope all of this helps someone! continued >>
I just finished this. It does leave some hairs behind. Or rather, it breaks them off at the root, rather than catching them. And it didn't pick up some shorter hairs at all.
However, I noticed it only skipped hairs where the hair was thicker. On thinner hairs like the kind on my arms and upper legs, it did a great job.
I'm hoping with time and exfoliation (I didn't before using this, so maybe that's my problem) I'll get all the hairs. But I don't feel ripped off. It does what it's supposed to, it just doesn't get everything. But I can live with that.
What I can't live with is the PAIN. Oh my god, it's like being flayed alive. I joked to my sister that the woman on the box is bent over and looking down being she's in such horrible pain. It's like you have to be a marine to use this.
Okay. Maybe I'm exaggerating a LITTLE. But I have a really high tolerance for pain. I used to pierce myself and withstand all kinds of painful situations. However, this had my crying like a little baby. I think it's because this is like...pinch-y pain so it's very grating to the nerves.
One thing that helped was repeating to myself "It's supposed to feel like this, your skin is not being ripped off..."
Also, running in quick, long strokes helped a lot.
The training head did nothing. I had to use it on the advanced head on maximum speed to get any results.
BTW, I did my belly, arms, legs, thighs and underarms. That last was the worst. I actually screamed and now my armpits are bleeding.
It's pretty loud. My neighbours probably thought I was having some kinky sex, what with all the buzzing and screaming.
Just remember: All beauty comes from AGONY.
When it comes to hair removal products, I am the biggest skeptic in existance. I'm "blessed" with alot of dark hair and pale skin so hair removal has been a part of my life since puberty. For me, shaving my legs was a waste of time. I would spend 15 minutes in the shower shaving and still not be able to wear shorts or skirts because not only would the hair grow back within hours but I could still see the hair under my skin. Shaving everyday caused terrible itching and irritation so I would only be able to shave a couple times a week. (really annoying when you want to be spontanous and actually come home and change into some shorts or something) So I decided to give epilating a try and based on the enormous amount of positive reviews I went with the Braun. Well, what else can I say but that it does exactly what it claims to do.
As previous posters have already mentioned, it is ideal to wax first then clean up the regrowth with the epilator to minimize intial discomfort. But if letting the hair grow long enough to wax is not an option for you then you can still use this. I couldn't wax so I shaved my legs like usual then used the epilator every day after that. It took a few days but I was able to remove all the hair without "alot" of pain. The only time it was really uncomfortable was the very first time. After that, even the most sensitive areas (knees, upper legs) were practically painless. Now, after a month, I don't even feel it. The only problem I have is with ingrown hairs. But thats not the fault of the epilator, its just the way my skin reacts. The first time is going to hurt but if you take breaks and work on small areas at a time..you'll get through it. It is messy so stand over a towel. The Braun isn't going to remove every single hair in one swipe but then it doesn't claim to. It removes alot though and the little headlight is instrumental in finding the tiny hairs you can't see. Thumbs up for me.
*Update* Its now been a year since I started epilating and I feel like I should edit my review with a warning about these devices. Depending on your particular skin and hair growth type, epilators can cause serious skin issues and scarring. I went through a "honeymoon" stage for a few months where the hair stayed gone and my skin felt smooth. Then I began to notice a few ingrown hairs. Not bumps but deeply embedded hairs that were growing way under the surface of my skin. No amount of digging could get them out. I tried TendSkin but had no luck. The "few" ingrowns then turned into dozens which then turned to scars. I've also found my legs to develop hyperpigmentation problems which is made worse by sun exposure. I didn't develop these issues on my upper legs where the hair is finer, but my lower legs and bikini line are wrecked. It will take months for the scaring to subside and even then I belive epilating permanently retards some follicles so I may always suffer from the ingrowns where I have never had this problem before.
I have this Braun Silk Epil for about two years now but don't use as often as Emjoi Gentle Gold Caress Epilator. Though I like easy to clean Braun, Emjoi perform well enough to remove hair thoroughly. Braun is less painful and less noisy but it leaves a lot of fine hair so what's the point of removing hair? When I'm in the mood, I use this Braun for my bikini area but only about twice a year. I am not that patient. I use Emjoi for my legs and underarms. I have Remington Smooth & Silky Epilator (costs less than 3x of upper lip waxing) for hair from my upper lips. It has only one speed and I don't want to mix from legs to my face. I won't purchase again for this Braun. PS. I'd recommend to use Aloe Vera gel after removing your hair as it will get less red or bumps. See picture: http://img.makeupalley.com/8/3/7/3/765244.JPG