I am on my second trusty Epilady and although there is pain, after 20 odd years of sporadic use I am quite used to it. The downside to epilating, for me, is that I have unsightly ingrown hairs and small bumps on my legs, also I have developed some broken capillaries (spider veins) and wonder if there is a co-relation to the epilating. Occasionally, I even have to dig out the ingrown hair with a small pin (gross) which results in a scab. So for me it is a mixed blessing.
Let me start this review by mentioning that my hair grows extremely fast although not particularly dark. When I used to shave, it was twice every day or else my legs would feel rough with stubble. Then about 8 months ago I developed a rash on my legs from shaving. I had to stop shaving for weeks at a time in order to let my skin heal. In desperation I turned to epilation to reduce the razor burn. I read the reviews of the Braun Silk-Epil and immediately rushed out to purchase. I dreaded the first time I epilated as my hair was quite long, and I could imagine the pain...but I was totally wrong! Yes it felt uncomfortable, but not acutely painful. It hurts me more to pluck my eyebrows. The device itself is noisy, but that is by far the worst aspect (the cat thought so too, poor kitty hides while I use the epilator). My leg hairs were removed efficiently and quickly, and although regrowth happens at different times, I have no problem epilating every couple of days. In fact I find it a pleasant experience! Hairs that you didn't know you had are removed and when you clean the epilator, you can see exactly how many hairs were plucked. I epilated on Sunday, and by Thursday I could feel the regrowth just a little. So 5 days without shaving and lathering my skin in cortisone cream. Heaven! **UPDATE** It has been a few days since I last epilated and the ingrowing hairs are a nightmare! My skin is itchy and sore (but I have extremely dry skin anyway which aggravates the itching). I have started using pure vitamin E oil on my legs at night which has really helped with the ingrowing hairs. My skin is not so itchy now and a lot smoother. I would not go back to shaving now as this epilator is so much easier and convenient to use, even if I suffer with ingrowing hairs. **UPDATE** Ok, so the ingrowing hairs were temporary! It was only the first week that I got them, now I don't get any whatsoever. I think my legs were just trying to get used to the epilator, that's why I had such a reaction. Now I don't even need to use the vitamin E oil on my legs, and even SO has noticed how good my skin looks! I would certainly rush out to buy another epilator if this one was lost or broken. continued >>
Lately I've been trying to reduce my waste and buy products that will last for a few years. So, I bought this epilator to use in place of razors and gels. After turning it on the first time, I was very surprised by the sound and the speed of the rotating head! It took me quite a few minutes to muster up the nerve to actually use it, and once I did, the plucking sensation was a little painful (6.5/10) on the lower legs, 7.5/10 on the knees, 8 on the upper legs, 6 on my arms, and 9 on my underarms. I have thick, black, coarse hair that has visible roots even if I'm shaved smooth. Halfway through my underarms I had to stop, but the next day I took two ibuprofen and finished them and it wasn't half as bad. I've had it for about a week now and have used it three times. I can tell it will take a couple of times before I'm totally smooth because the hair grows in at different times, but I think it is very effective and I love that it'll pay itself off in a few months!
I'm waiting to see how it will do on the underarms - I'm cursed with 'shadows' under my arms no matter how close I shave, and I hope they go away with use. they are VERY smooth under there though, and stay that way much longer than if I shaved, which is awesome. I got it off amazon and got it within a few days. I also luckily had $50 GC so I only paid about $10 for mine.
added 11/14/07 - I'm still pretty sensitive to the pain, though it's not nearly as bad, probably around a 4, and I expect it will stay that way. The underarms are SO MUCH more tolerable after doing it the first time, though it's not as 'clean' as the arms/legs - I'm not sure if it's in the technique or what. Also, I find that I have to epilate almost just as much as shaving - my hair grows REALLY fast I guess. I've been doing it 2-3 and sometimes even 4/5 days a week. i wouldn't say it gets me any smoother than shaving, but, I will stick with it because it's not as wasteful, and maybe with time the regrowth will lessen, but as of now, I epilate just as much as I shaved.
**updated 9/26/08**** I still use the epilator, but I am getting ingrown hairs even though I am using exfoliating gloves when I shower. I'm not sure if there's anything I can do to eliminate this. I find also that I get smoother results if the hair has grown a little longer than just epilating daily or even every other day. However, it means that it hurts more! My underarms are still painful. Regrowth is about the same. So I would really say the only pros for me on this product are the cost and waste reduction. Instead, I get pain and ingrown hairs. hooray! I will continue to use this product for the rest of my life though :)
My epillator is one of the best things that ever happened to me!!!
I have ALWAYS suffered from shaving - razor burn, ingrown hairs - my skin is ridiculously sensitive. Things got much much much better when I used my husband's razor one day - I think they're sharper, and the wire wrapped blades keep me from scraping off the skin on my knee caps.
Anyway, I have a pretty high tolerance for pain so when I read rave reviews for the Braun Silk Epil I decided to give it a try. The first time? YOWCH. I highly recommend lots of Advil and a half-glass of wine before taking on that project. The first time is the worst. But once you thin out the forest, each subsequent go with the epilator is easier and much less painful.
Advil and/or wine, shower, epillate, lotion (I add a drop of tea tree oil).
I'll have that really attractive "plucked chicken" look for about 24 hours.
Then I clean up anything that was missed with a quick shave the next day.
I epillate/shave once a week, and my legs look and feel great. I'm happy, my hubby's happy, everyone's happy!
I grew up thinking that shaving was for men's faces, not for girls' legs, that was what wax was for. However, even though I love waxing because it is SO fast, I hate having to book an appointment and then paying so much for it, and there is no way I am doing it myself unless I want wax all over my house.
That is where SilkEpil SHINES. You do it at home, anytime day or night and the nasty growing hairs are gone. Plus, there is no waiting for the hair to grow long enough for wax to be able to pull it. This little machine pulls TINY hairs.
Shaving turns little insignificant hairs into hard stubby growing spears, I hate the feeling on my legs on the third day after shaving. Big no-no for me.
Ok, it does hurt but then again, so does waxing and any other "hair-pulling" activity but not enough to turn me away. I have been using SilkEpil for at least 6 years and used Epilady (that one hurt more) before that. I love being hairless so I use it on my legs, feet, hands and arms with a pain around 3 from 0 - 10. Underarm is more like 5 and bikini line, well....7? Then again, it is not the machine's fault that this hurts, this is a paifult duty!
If you are used to the pain in waxing, you can manage no problem. If you only shave, I recommend buying from a place you can return. I am sure though that once you get "used" to the pain, you will not want to have to shave EVER again.
Keep in mind, my skin is VERY sensitive skin and I get red spots the day of, yet they go away the next day. As far as ingrown hairs, I use a scrub in the shower every day and that takes care of that.
I lived in Europe, and one night I heard a 'whirring' noise from my flatmate's door (we shared a VERY thin wall). I asked her what she was doing, and she was 'epilating'. I had never even heard about this before, and she told me that shaving is really bad for your skin and I should try to use an epilator. So when I came home to the states, I bought myself the Silk Epil from Braun from Bed Bath & Beyond for $60 and used a 5 dollar off coupon. It comes with a powercord, the epilator, 2 different heads, a cold compress, and a little brush and bag for the whole kit. Not bad, considering I never have to buy razors, blades, and shaving cream ever again!! This was a GODSEND to me, since I have so much thick dark hair, on paler skin. I get the impression that people that did not like this have a really low pain tolerance or don't go waxing. I suppose I just have a high tolerance, as this didn't bother me at all. Its slightly uncomfortable for a few seconds and then I don't feel anything. On my armpits yes, its not comfortable but compare the Silk Epil quickly removing all hair vs. a waxer in a salon continually tugging at your pits!! I BLED when I waxed my pits in salons, and at home because wax pulls on your skin as well as hair. I never bleed from my Epil. I've used it on my bikini LINE (not the inside of my whooha, use your commonsense please!) and just like before it was better/quicker/cleaner than waxing. I use it on my legs and mostly gets the job done, as I have many ingrowns (curly hair, dry skin) and in a few passes my legs are quickly done. Knuckles are another place I use it. I don't use it on my face, as its not small enough to use it on the lip line and god forbid you catch an eyebrow or lash. I have used it on my jawline and it does pinch but its effective. I still would recommend this for body hair only tho. I believe they do make epilators for face separately. My head of the Epil clogged but new heads are available for a few dollars online, and it lasted over a year now! In conclusion, I love my epilator, its quick, clean, easy, painless, no bleeding or cut skin, no water, no cream, no blades, no razors, burning chemicals.....i think you see the advantages. I also know that epilators are VERY common in Europe, America what are you waiting for???!! continued >>
This review is for the silk-epil x'elle by braun. I tried this for 3 months and ended up returning it (ULTA has a great return policy!). I lived through the horrible pain the first few times and then that got more tolerable to me. The reason I returned this product is that my legs were never, ever smooth. The hair grew back quickly (remember, hair grows at all different rates so the ones below the surface will come up a day or two after epilating). I had to do touch ups at least every 5 days. I have fine, light hair so it's not that I am a hairy person! My skin always had little bumps after epilating which never went away. I definitely have softer, smoother legs with good old-fashioned shaving. It wasn't saving me any time by using the Braun epilator so I figure it's not worth it. Back it went!
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!)