Epil-Stop: Just Rub on Some HCl...Nothing Will Grow Again or How Not to Support Igia

Dec 13, 2001 (Updated Dec 25, 2001)

The Bottom Line Would someone just arrest (I'm trying hard to not be brutal) the mastermind behind Igia already?

Ok, so we've all seen the stupid infomercials for Epil-Stop, the latest brainchild of the most famous sucker punching corporation (Phillip Morris aside), Igia. (No, I don't plan to use whatever pretentious accents and symbols they shove into their name. I don't have enough respect for them). This company amazes me to no end. They're able to make millions off of products that don't work. Their trick strategy is nothing new, however. All you have to do is come up with a "too good to be true" product, make a bunch of outrageous claims, provide a staged product demo, offer it at a "special" price, and you'll have the poor, gullible public eating out of your hand.

Now don't feel offended if you're a member of the "poor, gullible public." I'm with you. I swear it. I have the ability to read a hundred product reviews saying, "Don't buy this, it doesn't work!" and still have the motivation to buy the stupid thing, with some hopeful notion that maybe, just maybe, this is going to work. I mean, they say it will...so why wouldn't it?

Like when I told myself this about the Igia electrolysis kits:

"Yeah, electrolysis is expensive. And even when it's done professionally, it's not a one shot deal. But Igia says that if I use their home electrolysis mechanism (ultimately a glorified tweezer) that I can do it myself for a mere $20. It has to work! Even though a hundred professionals say it's a giant crock, I still have to have it."

I was able to turn myself away from that one. How, I don't know...but I'm certainly pleased with my decision. It's almost a guarantee that you get this thing that's supposed to do something "instantly," and have "permanent effects." When of course by instantly they mean "for 10 minutes," and "100 times," and by permanent, they mean "eventually, if you destroy yourself, develop scar tissue, and thereby stop the regrowth of hair in that follicle."

*Hence my review title.

The truth of the matter is that they (these companies, namely Igia) do run tests. For the sake of argument, let's say that they rub Epil-Stop on 1,000 people. There are so many factors that I can't take even a fraction of them into account. Like how big of an area they could have been testing...one millimeter? A whole leg? Who knows!? Now, maybe 200 of those people could have had it work pretty well on removing their unwanted body hair. Keep narrowing it down, and eventually we'll come to that one person who's removed hair didn't grow back for 6 weeks following the treatment.

This gives Igia the right to say:

"Remain hair-free for up to 6 weeks!"

When, in actuality, they're feeding you a load of garbage. Unless you were that lucky individual who had the "remarkable difference in hair regrowth."

This is why you find so many asterisks and symbols after everything these companies say.

Basically, I'm just reiterating what I've heard from everyone, and in every review, and on every news special. Which is, don't buy this! I'm just trying to do it more forcefully, and hoping that you'll trust me, because you know me. Seriously.

If you visit any of the many Epil-Stop web sites, including Igia.com, you'll find an illustration (literally) of how the product works on your hairs. The four pictures basically show a hair dissolving entirely, even in the follicle. In reality, Epil-Stop works as any other depilatory cream. It simply dissolves (acidically) the hair above the surface of the skin, and sometimes a bit below. Nothing entirely impossible to achieve with a good razor such as my razor of choice, the Mach 3.

More to come about that baby in another review.

Well, the captions for the four pictures are as follows:

*Yes, those typos were on the product's site. Apparently they're not putting their millions into hiring competent webmasters.

1) Fully grown hair in follicle
2) Satin Sensation begins to soften hair
3) Whithin a few miuntes hair is dissolved (who the heck edited that?)
4) Luxurious smooth hair-free skin

Hair-free skin, maybe...if you're lucky. At best, you can expect the hair above the skin to be dissolved, and maybe some of the hair slightly below the surface. But their illustration is misleading, as the follicle remains intact, as does most of the hair. They show an empty follicle as the final picture, and that's just plain wrong. That's how a follicle would appear after waxing, or tweezing. Whereas an intact follicle will be seen after using a depilatory, or razor.

Here's some product info for you...

From their ads:

"Epil Stop & Spray combines the ingredients of the Epil Stop Hair Remover that slows new growth. Simply spray on the area desired, wait a few minutes and wipe away unwanted hair. Stop shaving, tweezing and waxing and remain "hair-free" for up to six weeks."

Pssh, right. I wish.


I wasn't lucky enough to get the 6 piece kit, but I did find a small Epil-Stop Roll-On for about $7 at my local Walgreens. So I figured, "Why the hell not?"

It came in a box, which contained the roll-on. The directions suggest the usual "test this on yourself first" and whatnot. What it boils down to is this. You roll a thin layer of this on clean skin, wherever you wish to remove hair. You wait 5-10 minutes, then you take a damp cloth and wipe the hair off.

The web site and product description lists what body parts you can use this on, which includes almost every body part you'd ever consider removing hair from. It even says that the roll-on is perfect for eyebrows, then the bottle proceeds to warn "not for use near eyes." I'm used to contradictions already, and honestly, I don't usually follow the warnings. When I dye my hair, I always dye my eyebrows, regardless of how emphasized the packages warnings against it are, and that it could even cause blindness. I do it carefully, and I'm perfectly aware of it. No problems thus far, but I'm not saying that it's necessarily a good idea. Just telling you a bit about how I react to warning labels.

Epil-Stop warnings...

Now, I've never seen such a list of warnings, and in bold print. It takes up the better part of the tiny label. It warns against applying to wet skin, removing via a bath or shower, applying after recently shaving, waxing or tweezing, and then some more normal warnings. But geez, I'm being told that I'm risking a chemical burn by putting this on me. Also, I certainly planned to shower afterwards, so I didn't take heed to that warning at all.

I don't feel that I should list all of the ingredients, since they're mostly your common garden variety "water, mineral oil, aloe, etc..." But I will mention Thioglycolic Acid. Yep, that's what the chemical burns will be from, in case you have to be rushed to the hospital after being duped by a billion dollar corporation.

If you're into chemistry at all, like me, you'll recognize thioglycolic acid by it's unpleasant and rather strong odor. And if you've ever worked with this stuff, you will have been told that it's harmful if ingested, in eyes, or absorbed into the skin. Yeah, and here we are rubbing it on like a bunch of morons. It's not hazardous in low percentage quantities for that couple of minutes (or so we hope), but now you'll understand why they stress the warnings about leaving Epil-Stop on your skin for too long.

Ask your doctor, search the web, talk to specialists, and I'm sure that none of them would ever recommend such a product to anyone. In fact, they've probably formed coalitions in attempt to bring down Igia. This company dishes out more bull than I can take, and what really gets me, is that I still fall for it!

Ok, you've waited patiently, so now I'll tell you about my adventures...

So this morning, I decide that it's time to give Epil-Stop a try. I also bought a bottle of Nair for side-by-side experimentation. I've used Nair in the past, and been pleased with the results, so I considered it a worthy comparison choice. They're both depilatories, and they both dissolve the hair in the same fashion.

I personally hate body hair, and the only hair I'll tolerate is that which grows from my head, so naturally, I have a lot of experience with various removal methods from various areas.

Right now I'm working on a "how-to" about shaving "down under" review since it's a rather sensitive subject...no pun intended...

So I choose my forearms as the test subjects. I thoroughly wash and dry both forearms, and apply both products as instructed. Epil-Stop on the left, and Nair on the right. Now as far as their performance on the skin, neither of them caused any discomfort. The Nair, which is infamous for it's smell, didn't seem to have a strong scent anymore. The Epil-Stop was pretty bad, since it's only citrus scented in attempt to cover the acid's foul odor. But nothing unbearable. The actual application of the Epil-Stop was pretty rough though. Nair is a cream, and you just squeeze it out and put it on. The fact that Epil-Stop was coming out of a roller, and that I had to shake it first, was a little annoying. It was so hard to get an "even layer" (as they say) on my skin, let alone any layer. It took so many rolls to get this crap on me, that I worried about that stupid acid getting into my bloodstream. But anyway...

Both products suggest a maximum 10 minute waiting time, so after 10 minutes I performed the proper removal methods. Nair was fast and easy, since you simply rinse the area with water, and maybe a gentle wipe or two to get those hairs that didn't come off with the rinsing. However, Epil-Stop (as you may know from the commercials) insists that you must wipe the hair off. And not gingerly. So I took the recommended damp washcloth and wiped my left forearm. Unlike my successful right arm, I see no difference. So I did a few more wipes. After a while my arm turned red and become rather sore. And with no noticeable hair loss. So, I reapplied the Epil-Stop and gave it another go. I waited, and I wiped it off. I already knew that this was too much work to be worth anything. And it was irritation...mentally, physically and otherwise.

When I finally finished wiping my left arm raw, I checked out the hair that was supposed to be gone. Now, the perfectly happy Nair arm was comfortable, smooth, and mostly hair-free. The horrible, red, sore Epil-Stop arm was a joke. Some of the hairs had been reduced, but it was more like having an instant five o'clock shadow. Yeah, the hairs just got a little shorter. It was ridiculous. I felt ridiculous.

After all that, I finally doused myself in Nair, waited 10 minutes, and took a shower...and I was back to my usual frictionless, aerodynamic self.

No thanks to Igia.

Those bastards.

You just might catch me posting a slew of related reviews. I told you about my upcoming hair removal review, which I've been working on pretty heavily. Now that I've been had (again) by Epil-Stop, I feel I've tried every consumer method of hair removal, and therefore, I have much to tell...

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