Friday, July 09, 2010
Retro Product Fail #2: The Epilady
Pop quiz time! Do you know what the item pictured above is?
a. A vibrator
b. A torture device
c. A massager
d. A body hair removing product
If you answered d (or b...more on that in a minute) then you are correct (but then again, all of my readers have smarts and I wish I had a retro inspired prize to give to all of you!) This is an Epilady Trio, a hair removal tool that was introduced in 1988, and I own one from that same year. For some reason, my mother thought that a 16 year-old deserved a better way to remove hair from her legs, and I got the Epilady for Christmas that year. It was sold in department stores and marketed as sort of a luxury product.
In the 22 years that this thing has lived in my drawer, I think I've used it a grand total of 5 times. Does the Epilady remove hair? Oh yes, by means of quickly rotating coils that trap each hair and pull it out like tweezers. It wasn't so much that this thing didn't work that puts it in the "fail" category...it's that it hurt like hell! You know the scene from "The 40 Year Old Virgin" where Steve Carrell gets his chest hair waxed? Well, I don't want to exaggerate but it nearly feels that bad. The guards at Guantanamo Bay could've used this.
OK, maybe it isn't quite that bad...not long ago I pulled it out, charged it up (which requires some patience - it takes 16 hours to fully charge the unit), and prepared to bite my tongue off while gliding it over my legs. The key to minimizing discomfort while using an Epilady is you have to pull a portion of your skin taught while you glide the coils over. It's noisy, and as it traps each hair, it kind of makes a zapping noise to me. The problem is it isn't very practical. You can only use it after showering, and can't put any moisturizer on your legs or the coils won't be able to grab. It takes several hours for the battery to be fully charged, and it begins to peter out before you're done with the second leg, provided you make it that far. So, unless you're Heather Mills or had the nerves removed from your extremities, I don't recommend trying to score a used Epilady off of eBay.
The Dos and Don'ts list for using this product in the instruction manual is also pretty darn amusing - it's stressed in several places that the Epilady is for use on your legs ONLY, as if the reminder is really necessary. The thought of putting this thing anywhere near my underarms or nether regions makes me want to pass out!
The good news is Epilady discontinued the spring coil removal system quite a while ago...the bad news it's been replaced with this new tweezer-like mechanism, which looks like something out of a horror movie to me!
Despite its impracticality, I don't feel like throwing out this relic from the 80s. It's still kind of a cool item to have and I've never met anyone else who owned one. Did you?