The Braun silk-epil is a hair removing system that works like mass plucking. If you've read my review of Epilady, the original and first mass-plucking product on the market, you know that I strongly recommend this type of hair removal. I suggested in that epinion that, while the Epilady has worked perfectly for me for over 10 years, I don't doubt that there are newer and gentler versions of it out there. And now I have found one.
Recommend this product?
In this epinion I discuss the mass-plucking strategy in general and the Braun Silk-epil product in particular.
I devote extra attention to the main concern that plagues would-be users of this product: pain. Reading through other epinions of epil-type products it becomes obvious that many consumers tried such products only once, found it much too painful, and stopped. Hence, since pain is indeed the greatest deterrent to using this type of hair-removal products I make a point of addressing the issue in detail.
Let me start with the reason for using a mass-plucking device for hair removal: If used regularly (i.e., no shaving in between) it becomes a monthly--rather than daily--chore. I have been using this type of hair removal for over 10 years, and I can go over a month without having to worry about my leg hair. Furthermore, this type of hair removal does not result in shaving-style nicks and cuts (a previous epinion on this product suggests it does, but truly, I can see no possible way that it could; there are simply no sharp parts to this mechanism).
Oh, the pain!
This type of hair removal is closest to waxing in the sense that it doesn't involve cutting the part of the hair that is showing, but instead, pulling the hair out. Waxing does this in one motion. It is quite painful, but you get it over with in an instant. An epil product pulls out fewer hairs at a time than waxing would and is hence less painful, but it takes a lot longer since you can only do one small area at a time. If you want to know how this would feel without purchasing a product like this you can just use tweezers to pluck a hair out of your legs. Then do a few more in the same area. Don't rip them--just pluck them as you would eyebrow hair. Did it kill you? If it hurt bad you should not get an epil product.
The best part about this product is that the longer you use it the less painful it gets because of the nature of hair. If you trim your head hair, as you may well know, it strengthens the hair. Similarly, when you shave the hair becomes thicker and darker. Just compare an area where you've never shaved (somewhere on your arms, perhaps) to a shaved area and you'll easily see the difference. Plucking hair, on the other hand, has the opposite effect: it weakens the root while never strengthening the hair (I hope it is obvious that the effect is only local--only on the hair that is actually being plucked or shaved). So continuous use of an epil product eventually weakens the hair, making it easier and easier to pluck. It also thins it out, so with time, there is less and less hair to pluck.
But of course the main problem is getting over the first few uses so you can be rewarded with the long-term benefits. Well, if there ever was an epil product that may make it easier, I believe this is the one.
BRAUN SILK-EPIL SUPERSOFT PLUS
Comparing to Epilady
I am comparing these two products because the Epilady is basically the prototype for mass-plucking products, and because it is the one I've used for over 10 years. I won't make you wait till the end of this section to tell you that the Braun product is far gentler.
The Epilady is responsible both for introducing this hair-removal strategy to the world and for shocking many users with how painful it is. Partially, the pain was due to incorrect use (if used against the grain of the hair it is much more painful) but partially it was due to the less than gentle manner in which the revolving coils of the Epilady ripped hair out.
The Braun product reviewed here does not use revolving coils. Instead, it has a mechanism that actually resembles the tips of tweezers. As the head of the product revolves there are 3 tweezer-like tips at any given time that are plucking. A great benefit of this improvement is that the Braun silk-epil can grab hair that is quite short; the Epilady could only grab longer hair which meant waiting for it to grow a bit before removal. Braun's tweezer-like mechanism also makes the hair removal more gentle by, first, pulling out fewer hairs at a time, and second, pulling in only one direction.
Yes, yes, I'm back to the grain. But let me give you a good example of how important it is: When you pluck your eyebrows where do you pull the hair? If you pull it in the same direction that it grows you gently take it out by the root. If, however, you pull it the other direction you are likely to either rip it out painfully or tear it in half after stretching it some. That would be quite painful (try it and see!). And not only would it leave the hair to continue growing, it most likely would result in an ingrown hair. So a product that can pull the hair from your legs, several at a time, and manage to do it only in one direction is far more gentle than even waxing (which could easily tear your hair in half resulting in ingrown hairs).
Above I explain why I'm so devoted to the mass-plucking hair removal system, and I discuss the improvements of the Braun product in comparison to the Epilady. In this section I concentrate on the features of this product. And they are:
1. "Soothing attachment"
Yes, that's what they call it. It is tiny revolving plastic gears. They basically massage the area just before and just after plucking. I have to say that I love it! In fact, on my legs, I don't even feel anything but these gears massaging my leg while the hairs are plucked. However, keep in mind that I've been doing this for over 10 years so my leg hair is weak and thin. I did, for the sake of this review (I'm so committed!) try the product on my arm where I've never plucked hair (or shaved) before. And I did not find it even shocking, much less painful. Although I could feel the plucking action more than I did on my legs. Still, the soothing attachment does seem to help mask the plucking action.
2. 3 speeds
Like with many such products the head can revolve in a choice of 3 speeds. The slower the speed the fewer hairs are plucked at a time. Slow speeds are for gentler hair removal.
3. Grip control
There is an added control for the grip of the tweezers. I haven't used this much yet, but the idea is that reduced grip can grab finer hair without tearing it. As I keep saying, I have no need for this extra gentleness, but a new user may find this helpful. Simply, if a hair is not coming out easily a gentler grip would release the hair thereby avoiding the tearing and pain.
4. Easy to clean
Finally, the Braun silk-epil's head is detachable so it is easy to clean the bits of hair from this product. This may seem an obvious feature to the novel user, but if you knew how hard it was to clean the Epilady's coils you'd be just as thrilled as I was about detachable heads!
I believe the main problem with this product, even the only problem, is the fact that this type of hair removal has a bad reputation because of all the consumers who have used such a product once (ONCE!) and found it too painful.
In my humble opinion, this is an improved Epilady clone. It is gentler because it uses a tweezer-like mechanism (instead of revolving coils) that grabs less hair and better, and pulls it in only one direction; this makes the action less painful. It also can grab shorter hairs which makes the product easier to use (especially if you want to alternate between it and razors). And finally, it has a cool little massaging attachment that quite effectively masks the plucking feeling.
If you want to know more about such products from long-time users:
* My review of Epilady can be found at: http://www.epinions.com/well-review-6062-262050A6-398C8AEF-prod5
* My sister's review of Epilady can be found at: http://www.epinions.com/well-review-1F2D-18432F57-39690D58-prod5
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Amount Paid (US$): 50
Noise Level: Somewhat loud