Ready to Wear: The epilator is historically a fairly violent appliance

Part Two of the ready-to-wear series dedicated to hair: hair removal and, in particular, the removal of hair on the legs.

Anyone who regularly has to undergo this seemingly relentless pursuit will know that there is nothing in the world to beat a gifted professional. Mine is called Fay (proprietor of Fay's Beauty Parlour in Abingdon Road, W8, just a stone's throw from the Independent offices) and, suffice it to say, there's nothing she doesn't know about relatively painless waxing – from the standard to the, ahem, intimate. Fay is a gold medallist, and I'd travel far and wide for her services.

Still, there are times – in-between times – when hair is too short to strip and legs are too furry to make dress-wearing acceptable. When this occurs, the epilator is a thing if not of beauty then certainly of some practical value.

The reputation of the epilator, a sort of lawnmower but for hair, precedes it. Historically, it is indeed a fairly violent appliance. There's no arguing with the fact that it hurts. Still, epilators have come on quite some way and mine, a Braun Silk-épil 7 for legs, body and face (however proficient the technology, if anyone messes with facial hair at home, they're a braver woman than me), is as efficient as it is possible to imagine an epilator to be.

It's got different attachments for legs, underarms, bikini line (ouch!) and more, a bright light to show up hair, and best of all it can be used in the bath or shower (not when plugged in and charging, please) which reduces discomfort significantly.

Any lightweights out there (you know who you are) might like to know that this small and apparently inoffensive machine can also be transformed into an electric razor. Having been indoctrinated with anti-shaving dogma since my youth I, though, like to pull the offending items out by the roots in suitably hard-core fashion.

The good news is that two full legs took no more than 20 minutes to epilate, underarms a matter of (admittedly quite excruciating) seconds. As for the bikini area... It occurs to me that in the current economic climate epilators are a money-saving initiative par excellence, but there are some things best left to the professionals. And that, if you ask me, is one of them.

s.frankel@independent.co.uk

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