Review: Epicare Facial Threader
As you’re probably aware, I’ve been doing the whole accutane thing for almost five months now – only two more weeks to go, woohoo! One of the minorly annoying things about it has been the issue of hair removal. Waxing/bleaching are big no-go’s due to the risk of tearing or burning the skin, followed by scarring (which I don’t need any more of thankyouverymuch). Shaving is an option, but ingrown hairs/irritated follicles usually make that turn out badly if I try it on my face. I don’t buy into the notion that women need to be totally free of face & body hair, but the fact is I have dark hair and sometimes it shows up in places that I don’t necessarily want it. I spent a few months meticulously tweezing my upper lip and that weird area around my temples, and then this guy landed in my mailbox.
I’ve got to admit, at first glance I think it looks like some sort of adult toy – intended use unknown. But the packaging recommends it for facial hair removal, so that’s what I tried it for! It’s a tightly coiled spring that you roll over your face while bent; the spring grabs the hairs and pulls them out by the root.
How to use it
The packaging leaves a little something to be desired as far as instructions – it just says to ‘bend and roll’. Fortunately there’s a demo video on their website, which you can see here. Basically, you bend it into a gentle upside-down-U shape, lay it against your face, and roll the handles back and forth in your fingers while moving it along your skin. I found that it works the best when the spring is laid as flat as possible against the skin, moving against the direction of the hair growth. It probably goes without saying, but it’s a good idea to use this on clean skin to avoid spreading ickiness around and gumming up the spring.
Does it work?
Yup, it sure does. It took just a few seconds of rolling to grab all the hairs off of my upper lip. I also get a lot of dark hair growth in that area between the tail of my eyebrow and my hairline, so I tried it there too. That was a little more tricky because this isn’t exactly what you’d call a precision instrument, and I had to be careful to avoid grabbing my eyebrows. After a bit of trial and error to find the best angle I was able to use it in that area. As a side note, this is also not the tool you want for doing your eyebrows, unless you don’t want any left at all – keep your tweezers for that. As the last test on my face, I rolled it over my cheeks, since it claims to grab even fine, short hairs. It didn’t clear off all of the fuzzy hairs on my cheeks, but it definitely got enough of them that my skin looked smoother. I’m not sure you’d want to totally remove those anyway, since (per wikipedia) vellus hairs help regulate body temperature by insulating and acting as a wick for sweat.
Even though it’s meant to be used for facial hair, I felt like I needed to try it on my legs for the sake of thoroughness. Sadly, the spring seems to be a little too tightly wound to grab onto coarser leg hair very well. It may be possible with more practice, but I won’t be throwing away my razor just yet. I later saw in their FAQ that it’s not recommended for other body parts, so there ya go.
You’re probably wondering if it’s painful to use, and the answer is – not really. In a few places (like directly under the center of my nose) it was uncomfortable, but for the most part it felt more like a tingle or very mild burning sensation – similar to a light chemical peel, but it only lasts for a couple seconds. I had quite a bit of redness afterward, but my skin flushes at the slightest little thing so that’s not at all surprising. Still, this will be reserved for a night-time use only because of that. Aside from that, I haven’t had any irritation, ingrown hairs or breakouts.
Another thing that’s missing from the packaging is instructions on how to clean this thing. I eventually found it on their FAQs; they say to bend it, shake off the hair and wipe it with a dry cloth/tissue. That’s been working well so far, but the skincare obsessive in me wants to santitize it a little bit further. I may try spritzing it with rubbing alcohol, but I’m not sure if that would affect the hypo-allergenic coating or not.
Once you’ve released the loose hair from the spring… that’s it. I very much appreciate the fact that I don’t need to rub oil on my face to remove wax residue, and then remove the oil residue. Not that cleanup after waxing is a huge chore, but it’s nice to know that I could use this for an emergency touchup without much trouble. It’s pretty convenient for travel too, since it barely takes up any room in my bag.
The Epicare website estimates that the tool should last between 6-8 months, since the spring will gradually lose elasticity. I haven’t had mine that long, of course, but I’ll try to remember to come back and update if/when it needs to be replaced.
In Short: This little gadget is beautiful in its simplicity, and I wish I’d discovered it months (or years) ago.