Newest Review: ... the dial further round. The shape of the epliator sits in the hand very nicely whether wet or dry, using the larger head on the leg area... more
An increasingly popular way to stay hair free
Braun Silk-épil 7381 Xpressive Pro Body
Member Name: caz-3124
Braun Silk-épil 7381 Xpressive Pro Body
Advantages: See Review
Disadvantages: See Review
As is the case for many girls and women the world over, one of the many annoyingly repetitive but necessary tasks along with cleaning, washing and dusting and the like, is the need to get rid of body hair. Like many I am sure, I hate the sight of hair growing all over me and believe that hair should only be on the head. I can't understand why evolution has not rid us of body hair yet as it's a long time since we wandered around half-dressed in incredibly cold temperatures.
Unfortunately, it is not so and the battle with hair goes on. I don't know whether it is social conditioning or social expectation that makes me want to de-hair but it is not something that I would ever consider not doing. As it is with the exclusion of the mega-expensive laser treatment, there are four main ways of getting rid of hair. The first two ways, shaving and creams are depilatory, i.e. they get rid of the part of the hair that is on the surface. The other two, epilators and wax, are epilatory, i.e. they remove the whole of the hair, both on the surface and below.
Depilatory creams are something I tried some time ago but did not think much of. It was easy to use and not too costly though buying tubes to cover all the different body areas would need a fair bit of cream if used on a regular basis and so could add up. As it was however, I found it ineffective as half the hair was not killed off so didn't bother with it again.
Waxing is very appealing as a concept, but the reality is that you have to wait some time, normally several weeks, before the hair is long enough to wax which is off-putting as I don't like seeing the hair grow any longer than a few days. Then there is the choice between at-home kits, messy and sometimes causing serious burns with hot wax, and going to a salon and getting in an embarrassing situation with a stranger while you lie part-naked and they rip hair out.
So it is that for many years, I have stuck with a wet razor, dry shaving not being quite as effective. Over the years, I have used the Gillette series in different formats, Sensor, Sensor Excel, Venus and most recently Venus Divine along with their shaving gel. This is something that is relatively quick and apart from the very occasional nick, painless. The major gripe with this though, is that as you don't remove the whole hair, you just remove what's on the surface, within two days, hair is again easily to be seen growing on your skin which means I have to shave every other day. Hairs that I didn't catch I used my tweezers for, I like the idea of tweezing but obviously that you can only do one hair at the time means it is not suitable for all over hair removal, just for catching the odd one or two.
So it was that I started to think about epilation as an alternative to shaving. Epilation is where a multitude of electrical tweezers remove hair by the root and pull it out. They have been around for about twenty five years but developed much recently to become more of a realistic alternative. There are a few obvious advantages of epilating such as it is only a one-off cost, no need for monthly fees paid in the salon, cans of shaving gel and replacement razor blades or tubes of cream. It's portable and can be used anywhere.
So I decided to do a little research and see what products were out there and thus it was that I came across the new Braun Professional 7 range that came out before Christmas. There were five different models to choose from. The 7280 and 7380 were dry epilators. The other three, the 7681, 7381 and 7281 work in water and as I had heard that epilating in water was a big advantage I thought I would pick one of those. The 7681 offers all attachments including a facial cap and is the most costly. As I don't want to epilate the face, it wasn't for me. The other offered a trimmer which I thought was a bit pointless as I am trying to remove the hair, the essence of the idea of epilating, so I picked the 7381, the second most expensive.
The product promised epilation of hairs of 0.5mm which was very attractive as I can't stand the idea of waiting for hair to get really long to remove it again. It promised removal in both dry and wet conditions. Wet epilation is tidier as you can groom whilst doing your normal morning cleansing routine, the mess gets washed down the plughole, no need to vacuum it up and the fact that water reduces the sensation of pain hence water-births. It also promised 40 tweezer heads, a pivoting head that adapts to the contours of the body for closer epilation, soft tip technology which pushes the hair up to make it easier for the heads to grip, a smart-light which shows up hairs you've missed, pre-use skin wipes, massaging cushions, two speeds, one hour charging for forty minutes of cordless use and a bikini cap and a speed cap. There is a charger included but do bear in mind it uses a two pin plug to charge and this is not included so you will have to buy one of those adaptors if you don't already have one for a but it will only set you back a few pounds. This all comes in a smart looking black box with a handy white carry pouch and little soft cleaning brush.
The machine itself is rather attractive, white with a slight shimmer in parts and a navy blue speed wheel, it is also well-shaped so that it fits in the hand naturally, think in the same way the Playstation controllers do. The massage head is the one that comes fitted as standard and is designed to reduce the pain, you can also use the various attachments by squeezing on the sides of the head which makes it fall off and then just push the other on, very very simple. You can take the thing apart to clean out all the hair by running it under the tap and using the little brush.
They do include a pack of smart looking pre-epilation wipes by Olay (16 in the pack) to ready your legs. I haven't bothered with these as I don't want to get used to them then have to start buying them constantly as it will up the overall cost. I imagine they are some kind of cooling/numbing wipe but you could do the same with a few ice cubes I might imagine.
I had head epilating could be pretty painful so was a bit wary. I started on the underarms which I had heard was worse with the legs but I always go in the order underarms, legs, bikini zone so saw no need to make changes. I was immediately pleased as it was only a slight pain, more of a tickly, prickly feeling really, it barely bothered me so it was a good omen. As the skin is not taught under the arms to get maximum contact I held my arm up as if in school wanting to answer a question and this means the skin becomes taught. The skin did go red and I saw teeny tiny specks of blood but there was no bleeding.
Next was the legs, this oddly enough I felt more, but it was an irritation rather than a big pain. The legs are a big surface area so it's quite a long process and you have to be careful to get into the bits like under the knees or round the ankles and on the backs of the legs. It is recommended to use like a razor and draw the machine up the leg so at to catch the tip of the hair and guide it into the machine. Also, sometimes the epilator misses the hairs so you have to go over the surface several times to get them all though sometimes you still miss a few which is why I keep my tweezers nearby. As some hair is finer than others, you may find the little light on there quite handy, it also works when submerged but the movement of the water still makes it hard to see so I often raise my leg out of the water, check where there are still hairs then put my leg back down in the water to continue.
Then there is the bikini line. I don't find this overly painful but more so than the underarms or legs, the surface area is smaller but the hair coarser here. I don't know whether that makes it easier to extract or not but it is easier to see if you have missed some. Some people find it just too painful to use epilators here but it varies from person to person. The most painful place to use it however is right in the most intimate areas when you are trying to get rid of all the hair down there. Because of how sensitive an area it is, and because it probably isn't used to having hair removed at the root here unless you have Brazilian waxes done, your body will not be used to it at all and the skin is not at all taught and the changing contours make it much harder to get good access to the hairs. The pain can be quite intense here and it can be advisable to do it in very short bursts.
I have tried the two caps that came with the epilator. The high speed efficiency pro cap was not much different than the standard cap apart from the fact that it didn't have the massage cap on it. Supposedly it makes for faster epilation but I couldn't notice much difference and it seemed almost jumpier. The cap designed for underarms and the bikini line has a smaller opening so less hair is extracted simultaneously meaning less pain. I didn't have any issues with underarms so felt no need to use it there and o the bikini line, felt it ineffective as it didn't seem to be finding the hair well enough with the reduced contact area.
The thing that makes using this epilator greatly different from the epilators of the past is the fact that it can be used in water. I have not tried it in the shower yet only in the baths where you can truly submerge it. Without a doubt, I can say it makes all the difference, it become much more bearable, reducing the pain sensation by I would estimate from my personal experience by about 50% and I would not consider using it dry unless really necessary i.e. no bath available. I did try dry epilating so as to compare a few times after I had let the bathwater out. On the underarms and legs the prickly or stinging sensation is certainly more pronounced but bearable definitely. It was when I was using it in the bikini area that I realised how much of an advantage the warm water was, after trying to dry Brazilan myself as it were, I ended up shaking as it was so painful.
My one constant gripe with this problem was the noise. Seeing as this is such an advanced product, certainly no prototype, I really would have thought they would have dealt with this. The motor is dreadfully noisy. People can hear it down the corridor, it's quite off-putting and could scare some beginners. Once under water, the sound is subdued and doesn't really bother but this is definitely something to fix for the next edition.
When you have epilated you will notice some redness. My legs and underarms were red for a few hours after on the first usage and my bikini zone red and sore for a couple of days. Further usage has lessened this and the redness and pain disappears relatively quickly now. Do bear this in mind when timing this though, if you want to wear a miniskirt, epilate the day before not one hour before and so on. In terms of hair growth, it's difficult to say at this point, it is said that epilation kills off hair and what remains grows back finder and with time, hairs stop growing, but this is after a matter of years not months. I have noticed on or two ingrown hairs but I did with shaving too so nothing new there. It is advisable to use a body scrub to help with this and apply lotion or body butter after epilation because the skin is a bit dried out after epilating.
Epilation can be quick or slow depending how much you have to do and how practiced you are at it. It is never going to be as quick as shaving but you can speed up once you get used to the method. After a full charge it will last for forty minutes. A red light will flash when it's running out of charge. A green light means it's fully charged. I find forty minutes is enough to do all the bits I want to do.
In terms of re-growth, this will vary from woman to woman and also different hair grows at different speeds. They say epilating means hair grows back after four weeks but I find it's about three and you might find some hairs appear sooner or later if there were some just below the surface when you epilated. For this reason, the first few times I tried it, I had new hairs appearing a few days after which was really annoying caused by the fact that I would often manually tweeze hairs that my razor missed so my hair lengths were all over the place. To solve this problem, I did not epilate or tweeze for six weeks giving every hair a chance to grow to and above the surface. I did shave but one week before I wanted to epilate I stopped shaving. This meant that every hair was above the surface and long enough to epilate. This means that hair growth should be much more in tune at the same rate and length as much as possible which means fewer epilation sessions hopefully. I used to shave every other day. They say you can use this epilator at hair lengths of 0.5mm. I haven't tried to verify this but certainly four days of growth is picked up by the machine.
I believe there are some things that are worth investing in if you are using them either on a daily basis or on a regular basis. That is why I have the GHDs, electric toothbrush and so on. An epilator, to me, is the same, worth spending big money on. Even a cheap epilator will be many times more expensive than a razor and shaving gels but if used for long enough will eventually pay for itself. The main saving however, is time and hassle.
If you are intrigued by this, now is the time to buy. These are pretty costly I must say, normally, £110 but currently are being promoted at 1/3 off which is a fantastic deal taking the price down to £73. You can get this at Argos, Boots or Amazon and probably other places too.
I am guessing that epilating takes up probably about 10% of the market, creams and laser treatments 10% and the other 80% being waxing and shaving but with epilators like these being developed; I can see this figure going up in the future. There is of course an option to buy older epilator models which will be at a considerably cheaper price but the main advantages of this one are the wet usage and hair length at which it operates.
Though I was tempted to review this immediately after the first use, I decided to wait till I had a real all round view of the product and had used it enough times to get to know it. As promised, I am getting used to the sensations, finding the pain less and less bother and am becoming more adept in its usage and finding how it works best for me. I'm not throwing my good old Venus razor away by any means, it's always good to have a back up or alternative but for me, I think epilation is my now preferred method of hair removal for the lasting results it gives.
I genuinely hope this review will be of use to people who are considering epilation and especially those who are looking at buying this model. If you have any comments or questions, do put them and I will try to get back to them, if I don't you, then send me a gentle reminder message.
Summary: Worth investigating to see if it's right for you