Help me find an epilator
October 25, 2007 9:50 AM   Subscribe

I want to buy an epilator. Which should I get?

I have very fair, very sensitive skin. I hate shaving my legs and want to find a solution that lasts longer than 1.5 days which is why I think I should give an epilator a shot.

My tolerance for pain is so-so. I'm willing to suffer so that I don't have to do the shave dance every other day, though. And hopefully not have razor burn, bumps, redness, etc.

Recommend me an epilator that you've used and liked or tell me what to avoid and stay far away from.
posted by icarus to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
waxing is less painful than any machine you can buy, because it's faster. (you can't move the epilator nearly as quickly over your skin as you can remove a wax strip.)

if pain is a big factor, why not try veet or nair? they last a bit longer than shaving, but not as long as waxing.
posted by thinkingwoman at 10:20 AM on October 25, 2007

I hope this doesn't break the guidelines for not answering your exact question - but Epilators are awful. They tug and pull at the hair over and over and finally get it out. It's painful and takes forever to get decent results. If I were you I'd investigate waxing instead - it's so much more efficient. And I sound like some kind of shill but I just started using the "intuition" razors - and I've seriously never hated shaving less. Worth a shot until you've found an alternative.
Also note that hair regrowth after epilation (either by machine or wax) can be less than pleasant. I get itchy and suffer from a fair number of ingrown hairs. I'm light skinned with dark coarse hair - I've tried almost every method of removal - it all sucks - I'm just waiting for laser removal over large areas to get a little more economical...
posted by Wolfie at 10:23 AM on October 25, 2007

I personally like the Emjoi line of epilators. My skin is a bit on the sensitive side and I use one of the regular models (OptiMax), but they came out with another line recently called "Light Caress" which is less painful.

I'm personally not a fan of EpiLady or the Panasonic lines of epilators.

Just remember to take a bath or shower and exfoliate very well, use the epilator, then apply a light lotion to calm the skin. Then exfoliate everyday and keep something like Tend Skin on hand to combat any ingrowns.

Beware, you will get a lot of ingrowns in the beginning.
posted by wilde at 10:24 AM on October 25, 2007

I have a braun silk epil, I like it for the bonus reason that it has an electric shaver attached for when I'm feeling wimpy.
posted by missmagenta at 10:32 AM on October 25, 2007

How long do you all go from the time you've epilated until you do it again?

How long does it take to do both legs?

I'm currently debating between:
1. Braun Silk-├ępil Easy Start
2. Emjoi Opti Pro
3. Braun Silk X'Elle Epilation Shaver
4. Norelco Satin Ice Epilator
5. Emjoi EPI Slim Hair Removal System
posted by icarus at 10:51 AM on October 25, 2007

The No-No was featured on Daily Candy yesterday... cannot vouch for it personally.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 11:00 AM on October 25, 2007

How long it takes depends on how big an area you need to cover and the stubbornest of your hair, takes me about an hour but I have big calves and stubborn hair.
posted by missmagenta at 11:17 AM on October 25, 2007

I have fair, very sensitive skin, and switched from shaving to epilating for the same reasons you've mentioned. I used to wait 8-10 days between shaves to avoid razor burn, which was damn inconvenient in the summer time. (Yes, I tried the Intution, the Venus, every fancy shaving cream -- nothing helped.) Now I use an Emjoi Gently Gold Caress, and find it much faster and easier than waxing, with less irritation than shaving. Sure, your first time epilating will take awhile (and hurt like a mother!), but you can pick up your epilator and run it over your legs anytime -- like, in the 5 minutes before you're running out the door -- without the set-up and cleanup waxing requires.

My Emjoi never grabs hairs, tugs, and doesn't pull them out. (Although I prefer to use mine plugged in; using just the battery, it runs slower, which could cause tugging.) Like an electric razor, I may need to go over an area a few times for the epilator to grab a hair, but once it grabs it, it's gone.

I only epilate the area below my knees, because my knees are so knobby that the epilator doesn't work very well (too many odd angles required to get those hairs), and the hair above my knees is so fine it hardly matters. It takes me 5-10 minutes total. I usually epilate once a week; the longer you wait, the more painful it will be (more hairs). Also, I'm more likely to get ingrown hairs as they grow longer.

About ingrown hairs: It was so wonderful to have silky smooth legs the first time I epilated, but within a month I was in tears from all the ingrown hairs I had on my legs. I fight a constant battle against them, and I still haven't achieved total victory. For me, if I'm not religious about exfoliating and treating my legs, I get red, bumpy ingrowns that take forever to heal. So I gently rub my legs every morning in the shower with one of those nubby mittens they sell in the bath aisle, and I spray homemade TendSkin on every other day or so. That does the trick, though I still have bumps from the weeks when I get lazy.

I dream of the day when I can afford laser hair removal. Epilation isn't perfect for me -- it's even more of a hassle than shaving was -- but at least now I can go bare-legged 3 days in a row anytime I want.
posted by junkbox at 11:44 AM on October 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

I've had good luck with the Emjoi Opti Pro. I don't find it particularly painful. I generally settle in with a beer and some good chocolate to distract me. I can even use this model on my armpits without undue discomfort.

The first couple of times it will take forever, but touch-ups are relatively quick. Second wilde's comments re: exfoliation.
posted by MsElaineous at 11:44 AM on October 25, 2007

It takes me around an hour as well. I go through each leg two or three times with the epilator. Then I go back and focus on stubborn areas.

My hair grows back fairly quickly, so I have to epilate every 3-4 days.
posted by wilde at 11:50 AM on October 25, 2007

@junkbox: you are my leg twin!
posted by icarus at 12:09 PM on October 25, 2007

@wilde: That just broke my heart. I was hearing stuff like "a month" and while I was doubtful about not having any stuble/hair for a month I thought maybe 2 weeks is a reasonable amount of time to be hoping for. 3-4 days blows :(
posted by icarus at 12:11 PM on October 25, 2007

It really depends on how fast your hair grows. My eyebrow hair and leg hairs grows pretty damn fast. To give you an idea, after i pluck or get my eyebrows threaded, I have to pluck stray hairs every other day or so.

Then again I have a friend who only has to epilate her legs once a week, another who goes a week and a few days.

I honestly don't think epilation would last a month for anyone.
posted by wilde at 12:25 PM on October 25, 2007

Well, three-weekly here. It takes about 15 minutes for both legs. I have the silk-epil, about which I have no complaints.
posted by goo at 12:41 PM on October 25, 2007

Yeah, it doesn't ALL grow back in 3-4 days, the way it does with shaving. Each of your hair follicles is on it's own growth schedule; once you've plucked them out, some hairs will begin to grow back immediately, and some will take a few weeks. So in 3-4 days you'll have noticable hairs that you want to get rid of, but you won't be completely fuzzy.
posted by junkbox at 12:47 PM on October 25, 2007

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