Update: Learn all about affordable home laser hair removal and permanent hair removal options in our Complete Home Laser Hair Removal Buyer's Guide .
Last week I sat down with the Braun Silk-Epil Xpressive Epilator in hand, wondering why the heck I agreed to test a home hair removal device that I knew would hurt and I generally expecting the worse in terms of pain. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the discomfort was quite bearable, and the results were so good that I love the thing!
Before I write more on how much I like this product, let’s get one thing straight. If you are not familiar with how an epilator works, it essentially pulls your hair out a the roots. Therefore, it cannot be painless—that is impossible. So anyone who complains that an epilator is a bad product merely because it hurts is usually focusing on their own sensitivities and not the quality of the product. It also means that if you are squeamish or particularly sensitive, you probably shouldn’t try one.
With all that said, I actually am a bit squeamish, but I was surprised to find that the pain was less than waxing for me. Not much less, but a bit. I was expecting more because of the slower use of the product. But the Braun Silk-Epil Expressive has the option of using a beginner head with little massage type rollers and a smaller surface area, which seemed to make a difference. I also found that I actually kind of liked the sensation. It one of those satisfying kinds of pain, knowing that it will lead to weeks of hair free legs. One note though--I briefly tried using the Braun epilator on the bikini area, and that was a lot more painful, so I'm not sure I will be using it there. Although I plan to try again.
In terms of home hair removal, the epilator worked very well. It can remove hair once it is about 2-3mm long, which isn’t all that bad to grow out. The hair came off completely which each swipe of the device and it stayed gone for well over 3 weeks—the same as waxing for me. The Silk-Epil has a little built in light that is nice for spotting missed hairs, and because it is rechargeable, there is no annoying cord. A corded version is also available for about $30 less.
The epilator comes with heads for legs, underarms, the bikini area, and face, along with a razor attachment and case. Cleaning is easy. My only complaint is that the instructions are a bit hard to read. The English instructions are in the middle of a thick booklet, while references to the parts come from a picture at the front, making page flipping a requirement. It also is a bit on the expensive side for a hair removal appliance, but well worth it in my opinion, assuming that you are the type who can handle the sensation of the device.
The Braun Silk-Epil Expressive has become my hair removal option of choice. If you are willing to put up with a bit of prickly pain and discomfort for weeks of hair free legs, this is a great item to try.
Update: Since writing this, I have started using the Tria Laser for permanent home hair removal and have also tested the Verseo eGlide for permanent hair removal on my face. I am happy with both products. For more, take a look at our posts on the products here:
Home Electrolysis Roller (overview with a lot of user comments)
Permanent Home Hair Removal (buyer's guide)