Epil Stop & Spray

You spray it on, and unwanted hair just wipes away. Or does it? Those slick advertisements for Epil Stop call it the painless way to remove hair for up to six weeks. But it may not be so painless.

Carol Rix doesn't like shaving her legs every day. So she's trying Epil Stop and Spray, the spray for large areas of hair removal, like your legs, and a roll-on for places like your face. "It doesn't hurt," she describes as she sprays it on. "I just feel like a mist."

You can really smell Epil Stop, and it doesn't smell like an orange, as the product promises! "It's kind of like a permanent, a hair perm," adds Carol. "It's kind of strong. But if it works, that's fine!"

Carol follows directions very closely, and after five minutes, carefully wipes Epil Stop off. "Well, some of it's gone. But not all of it. Now it's really smelling," she says disappointedly. "Nope, it didn't take it all off."

So Carol re-sprays her lower leg, to extend the time to the maximum allowed. And she sprays a new section. We're going to let that new section on for the full time limit straight through. And the waiting begins again.

"This could take all day," emphasizes Carol. Especially if you spray in sections, which you would probably want to do, rather than run the risk of it getting Epil Stop all over everything. "Well, it's running a little bit," she adds. And with that strong chemical smell, you probably don't want to touch Epil Stop to too many things.

We check our second test. The bottom section sprayed twice did wipe off this time. But the top did not come off. Carol's tempted to rub harder, but Epil Stop strongly warns against rubbing or using soap. Disappointing results for a 26-dollar product.

"I think I'll just use the razor," Carol summarizes. "That will be the quickest way and the cheapest way."

The Food and Drug Administration warns hair removal products can contain harsh chemicals that can burn you. The FDA along with Epil Stop, suggest you try it on a small patch of skin first. But Sabrina Gooden couldn't stop Epil Stop from burning her.

"I'd hate to see someone go through the same exact thing!" Sabrina exclaims.

You can still see the burn scar on her neck, two weeks after it happened, It looks like someone tried to choke her with a rope. Doctors say Sabrina has first and second degree chemical burns that will take a long time to heal, even on antibiotics. All this, and she says Epil Stop was barely on her skin for a minute.

"As soon as I rolled it on, it started turning red and burning," Sabrina describes. "I got cold water and a wash rag, and started patting it. It got worse and grew as the day went on."

Epil Stop boasts that it contains Vitamin C and antioxidants, implying it may actually be good for your skin. But at one point, even the federal government called it dangerous, and yanked it off the market. The FDA website says the recall on October 15, 1997, was due to skin irritation and burning. Obviously, something changed and the product is again allowed on shelves. And Amy points out Sabrina has been on hormones since her toddler was born, and pharmacists say hormones can make your skin much more sensitive than normal. But Sabrina's tried various other lotions, and never had a problem before.

"It's scary!" she states.

And it's ineffective. Epil Stop earns an 'F'. Your $26 are lost on a glitzy box with a potentially risky product that, at best, just wastes your time.