Friday, 26 June 2015

Confessions of a first-time epilater

OK, I admit it.  When it comes to using an epilator I'm a virgin.  Well, I was until last night.

Don't worry, I'm not going to share photos - or even worse, videos - of my hairy man-legs, I wouldn't inflict that on anyone.  But let's just say I have hair issues.  My hair is dark and it grows ridiculously fast.  I mean ridiculously fast.  When I shave my legs, there's already stubble growing by the time I've got out of the bath and got dressed.  It gives me major problems in the summer because much as I'd love to run around free and wild and super-hairy, I'm just not one of those people.  The armpit hair revolution is to be applauded for helping women break the stigma, but until it becomes totally mainstream I'm not going to be the one that gets laughed at.  Sorry if I'm letting my feminist buddies down here, I'm just being honest.

Shaving my legs is a nightmare.  To keep them relatively smooth I'd have to do it every day, and I just don't have the time.  And anyway, when I do, like on holiday for example, they soon become sore and angry and I have that awful plucked chicken look and bright red dotty legs - especially if I go in the salt water of the sea - ouch.

I've tried hair removal creams and they are even more of a faff. Added to which you walk around smelling of that tell-tale hair-remover cream aroma. Either I get a reaction and end up red and chickeny again, or I spend ages doing it only for it to grow back in a couple of days.  For this reason I've never attempted waxing - I mean who wants to go through the pain and humiliation for just a couple of days of baby-smooth skin?  Not me.

Epilators have always scared the bejesus out of me.  I mean, rolling something over your skin which pulls your hairs out by the root - sounds like torture right?

But I've finally taken the plunge, and agreed to try out the new Braun Silk Epil 9 epilator.  I mean, how awful can it be?


It charged up very quickly using the mains cable into a shaver socket in the bathroom, and holds its charge for 40 minutes from just 1 hour of charging. It comes ready assembled to no fiddly pieces to put together.  There are lots of different heads for various parts of the face and body, but let's not get carried away, we'll start just with the legs shall we?


I read somewhere that you should down a couple of paracetamols before getting waxed, and this nugget of information bubbled into my mind when I was perched on the side of the bath about to go in for the first time.  Would I need them? Would they have been helpful?  Well maybe, but I took a deep breath and decided to go for it.

The Braun Silk Epil 9 can be either wet or dry, but I chose to use it dry for the first time.  I think a soak in a hot bath would have helped because it relaxes your skin and opens up the pores making the discomfort less, but I thought doing it dry would mean if I chose to wuss out I could just roll my trouser leg back down and nonchalantly carry on with my day like nothing had happened - no big deal.

So, the Silk Epil 9 is actually a lovely bit of kit to handle.  It fit comfortably into my hand, was very ergonomic, and let's face it who doesn't like a sexy new gadget.  I was momentarily distracted by the pretty sparkly glitter and the shiny light.


But back to reality.  I was going to do this.  I'd read the instructions, mentally prepared myself and I was ready - oooh glitter...

The booklet says that you should stretch your skin to avoid too much discomfort, and I have to admit, stretching my leg skin over my calf in the comfort and privacy of my own bathroom was much less humiliating and contortionist-like than stretching my face in the middle of a shopping centre to get my eyebrows threaded.

Following the instructions, I started at the bottom of my leg, moving the epilator in an upwards directing, gliding it over the skin.  Error.  As I later found out, the area around my ankles is probably the most sensitive part and by gods I nearly stopped right there and then.  It felt like a thousand sharp needles going into my skin.  By this point I was getting all hot, sweaty and a little panicky, so I took a little break, made a cuppa, momentarily reconsidered the paracetamols then recomposed myself before going in again.

The second time, I started further up my lower leg.  And do you know what?  It wasn't too bad.  The rollers on the epilator massage the skin and the little vibrations almost numb it.  It felt kind of like a nettle sting, but without the lingering sensation.  As soon as I stopped or moved to another area, the tingling stopped.

There are 2 speed settings, and as advised as a first-time user, I went for the slower one.

I was on a roll.  It wasn't long before I'd done the whole lower leg, and I was pretty impressed with my bravery.  You've just got to get over that initial wince and then honestly it's fine.  Apparently future sessions will be even easier as my skin gets used to it.

One leg done, much quicker than I expected, I moved on to the other leg.  By this time my daughter was in the bath, and I was able to stand there doing my de-fluffing while she had her nightly ablutions - see multi-tasking.  Doesn't every busy mum need to be able to deal with her maintenance while doing something else with the other hand?  This was actually a huge positive for me. It means I can fit it into my life without having to take an hour out to have a bath.


The Silk Epil 9 was actually incredibly easy to use.  The light was far from a gimmick, it was really helpful for seeing any hairs you'd missed.  The moveable head glides easily over your skin contours - so much better than a razor where you always have the danger of nicking yourself. Those little MicroGrip tweezer rollers that I've always thought of as instruments of torture actually became a thing of wonder - even beauty - as it skimmed over my legs whipping out the pesky hairs.  It was very satisfying.


Both legs done, time to stand back and assess the results.  First up, the smoothness test.  Well, they were't totally silky - I don't think I could have dropped a fine French silk stocking down them without it catching.  But I guess those must just be tiny newer hairs I can feel because I certainly couldn't see them.  Visually they looked totally hair free, and although they didn't feel 100% smooth, the feel hadn't changed by the next morning meaning I hadn't suddenly sprouted stubble overnight like I do with shaving or depilating.

My legs were a little red, but the instructions said this might be so and advised to do them in the evening, and they were right - by the next morning the redness had more or less gone.

Not using the epilator wet did mean my skin was left particularly dry afterwards, but nothing a good slather of moisturiser didn't fix.

I have to say, I'm hugely impressed.  Both with myself for braving it (it really wasn't that bad after all) and with the end results.

In contrast to shaving, the positives are that you can use it dry as well as wet. There's no danger of cutting or nicking yourself like with a blade.  The epilator doesn't pull the skin, just the hairs, so if you have any pimples, bumps or blemishes it will glide over them rather than shave the top off like a razor does.

I'm curious to see what the regrowth will be like both in terms of speed (the advertising suggests it lasts for 4 weeks, but nothing ever does with me) and the thickness of the hair, and also whether this does get easier and easier each time, but overall I'm very happy.  The biggest plus for me will be how long the results last for - I'll report back.

I'm just now left staring at all the other adapters wondering if I've got the guts to try it anywhere else...

Disclosure: I was kindly sent a Braun Silk Epil 9 epilator for the purposes of this trial.  All opinions are my own and are completely honest.

35 comments:

  1. Very interesting to read this as I too am reviewing it at the moment - although like you I've only been brave enough to try it on my legs so far. And actually I'm really impressed. I too have dark hair which grows fast and actually the regrowth is far slower than I imagined - hence actually saving me loads of time! It's not perfect yet, but I figure I'm still getting to grips with using it instead of shaving.

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    1. I'm really impressed so far too. Will see how long the re-growth takes but so far it's been 5 days so it's lasting much longer than anything else I've ever tried.

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  2. oh I have an earlier version of the same epilator - I could NOT live without it - totally recommend getting one of these, never waxed since! (saved me a fortune - seriously) :)

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  3. An interesting read - look forward to the update about re-growth. I had my legs waxed for holidays a few year back, and they were growing back with in a few days - so annoying!!

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    1. Argh that is annoying. That's why I won't risk it Michelle. So far so good, I'm on day 5 now.

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  4. A very interesting read. I've never used an epilator before, im not sure if it's because i'm scared of them or not haha! I may give it a go now since reading this x

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    1. You couldn't possibly as scared as I was, but I did it and it was no way near as bad as I thought it was going to be!

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  5. Well done Liz, you brave lady and multi-tasking, way to go! mich x

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  6. Well done you. 4 weeks? Well I was feeling like a right coward still but if you come back and say it is worth it because they don't grow back for a while I may have to try it myself.

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    1. I'm not sure it's going to go 4 weeks. Creams usually say up to 4 weeks and it's grown back in a couple of days on me. Maybe I have freakishly fast growing hair? But it's 5 days since I used the epilator and I'm happy so far.

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  7. Oh interesting. I wonder if this would work for me. Do your hairs have to be a certain length. I have very dark hairs and have to shave a lot otherwise you can see them. I tried waxing, but in order to get them to the length again I had to wear trousers,

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    1. That's always the problem isn't it Jen. But the Braun Silk Epil says it will catch hairs as short as 0.5mm so much shorter than waxing.

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  8. I gave an epilator a go once but couldn't get on with it - every time I read a review like this I think I should try it again as I probably wasn't doing something right

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    1. Well maybe try again? Technology has moved on and I think maybe if you try it wet it might be easier?

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  9. I have never been brave enough to try an epilater before - perhaps I really do need to give it a try. x

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    1. If I can do it anyone can! It really wasn't that bad, a strange sensation but not unbearable.

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  10. I keep wondering if I should try an epilater. I don't have that many hairs so I think it would be less hassle than getting out the creams.

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  11. My 12 year old has asked for one of these! I'm not sure what to say as it's clearly better than shaving but I really don't think she's old enough. I think it's a safe alternative though so I may have to consider it x

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    1. 12? Wow is that how young girls start worrying about body hair these days?!

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  12. back in the day i had one and was a right wuss about the pain. Sure they have improved though maybe I should retry!

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    1. Oh yes Becky I'm sure technology has moved on and it's much less uncomfortable now.

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  13. It is one of those sensations you get used to the more you do it, that said, in some places it really hurts x

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    1. I'm glad to hear you get used to it. Not sure I'm brave enough to try anywhere other than my legs yet!

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  14. Now when you said 'hairy man legs' I thought, here we go... I can relate! Then you started talking about changing their appearance and I realised perhaps not. Imagine how painful it would be for ME? Having my eyebrows waxed is the only torture I go through. PS. Don't tell anyone that last part.

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    1. Haha Ryan. Your secret's safe with me ;0)

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  15. I use an epilator on my legs, and it definitely last much better than shaving and you do get used to the sensation, it barely hurts a scrap now. Have NOT braved it on any more sensitive areas tho...

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  16. i have to be honest in saying ive always been a little scared of these , i am ok to use them in wet conditions but not dry x

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  17. I had an epilator years ago and remember it hurting like hell. Love they have been updated and are less painful now

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  18. Still not convinced but there again I may be the wuss of all wusses. Having said that I'm off for a bikini wax tomorrow and that is only my second time. I may still learn yet

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  19. I'm exactly the same...very hairy! It drives me insane having to shave most days. I have always been too afraid to try an epilater but you make it sound like its not too bad so I may attempt it x

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