James, thanks for your needle recommendation!

Just tried a first session with Ballet Gold. Immediately noticed an improvement in insertion and my victim observed reduced pain.

This is in comparison to Uni-Probe. When I look at the tip of the Uni-Probe under 40X, I can clearly see that it’s rounded. Almost a spherical shape at the tip. Maybe that’s the difference. The Uni-Probes would consistently stall at the beginning of the hair sheath, and take quite a bit of force to get past it. The Ballets go through much easier.

I’m going to place my order for a set of Ballet Golds. Could you advise which sizes you typically use? I am using 4’s for bikini hairs; the 4’s almost seem too small for that area.

Thanks again for the recommendation.

  • Eric

You are very welcome Eric.

Many in the field think that the Ballet Gold thing is a myth, but you can tell them you have seen it for yourself.

I tell you, if I try something other than a Ballet Gold on most of my clients, they immediately snap to and demand, “What are you doing differently today!”

As for size, you need to use the size that best fills the follicle while not stretching it. Doing this to the fullest, is only possible when really good visual equipment is present, because better insertions make larger probes a comfortable option. Since there are only size 5 and 6 probes larger than what you are currently using, you may want to get them to send you a sample pack of those two sizes, and see what is the most comfortable. You will also notice that you can use higher settings with more comfort on a larger sized probe. It may be that you can just keep the setting where it is, get the great results, and have your “victim” feel less “victimized” :grin:

[ October 14, 2003, 05:04 AM: Message edited by: James W. Walker VII, CPE ]

How are the insulated probes different than gold in terms of comfort? I thought that insulated are supposed to protect the skin and the gold were for hypoallergenic purposes.

I am also trying Ballet tapered needles. Probably the biggest difference I note is that you don’t have an abrupt end to the taper which you can use to judge insertion depth. Otherwise, my patient reports somewhat improved comfort.

Also tried the Ballet stainless. Patient reports no difference. I find insertions harder as the probe has less contrast with the skin.


Gold is a better conductor of electricity and is a softer metal. It just slides in easier.

Many people are alergic to nickle, or have some sinsitivity to the nickle content of stainless steel, that is why people with many allergies, or skin sensitivities use the gold.

Insulated probes keep treatment energy from reacting with the surface skin, as all energy is focused on the tip area of the probe. However, this also makes the insertion of greater importance, as it focuses MORE energy at the tip, while creating a large no treatment zone. In short, if you are not perfect in your insertion with insulated, you get no treatment energy in the target area. If you use a gold, you can have comfort, AND a little insurance against poor insertions.

</font><blockquote><font size=“1” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”>quote:</font><hr /><font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”>
<strong>Gold is a better conductor of electricity and is a softer metal.
This would mean that there’s more electricity conducted using the gold probe, and therefore one would need to use lower settings. :confused:
The fact that it’s a softer metal shouldn’t make much of a difference because we’re tralking about gold coating only. It’s a minute amount of gold on the probe, while the rest is your good old stainless.
Where it could make a drop of a difference, is if the probe is very old. The stainless steel will corrode a drop and interfere with conductivity.
It just slides in easier.
Interesting, why it would. All probes are supposed to come with mirror finish and should slide well if they are new and unscratched. Unless gold is special in this respect…

Insulated probes keep treatment energy from reacting with the surface skin, as all energy is focused on the tip area of the probe. However, this also makes the insertion of greater importance, as it focuses MORE energy at the tip, while creating a large no treatment zone. In short, if you are not perfect in your insertion with insulated, you get no treatment energy in the target area.
</strong> </font><hr /></blockquote><font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”>So, since the gold has the same treatment area as the stainless, why does it feel better?

It is interesting that DIY’er has trouble seeing the stainless against the skin. I had exact same problem using the gold. Maybe you’re using it on black skin? I never tried the gold on black skin. But I treat many blacks and I never had any hardship with the stainless probe.

I have noticed a difference in pain tolerance when comparing stainless and gold needles, working on myself.

I started out using gold on myself and then tried the stainless one time and had way much more pain, so I’ve switched back to gold.


Probe companies will generally send you a sample of each of their needles. During my training I tried them all. Chose the ballet gold as my favorite and have used exclusively. Last year, I tried Sterex one pieces as I ran out of my ballets. Just not the same! Could not wait for my order of Ballet probes. Last night thought I’d give Sterex insulated a try on man’s back to see if I could improve on comfort level. He asked what was different and then requested the original brand “Ballet Gold” to finish the treatment. I have seen slide presentations of probes under the microcope. Yes, there are differences in the tips and finishing. And the epilator settings varied as I changed type of probe and company/


I am working on a patient as white as white. The contrast issue I had was with the stainless probe reflecting the skin colors from all around; the gold maintained more contrast. This was with using a fluorescent magnifying lamp, which provided light from all directions, making the contrast worse.

Regarding the whole comfort puzzle: I am naturally skeptical. For example, note I was comparing Uni-Probe, with a more rounded tip, with Ballet, which has a sharper tip.

I am skeptical conductivity has anything to do with it. The relative conductivity of gold versus steel is so minor relative to the resistance of the rest of the body, it’s hard for me to imagine it making any difference.

Maybe the gold surface remains smooth while the stainless pits. However, Bono notes that surface finish isn’t very important. Maybe he’s wrong on that point. Incidentally, he doesn’t favor gold, at least in his Blend book.

There are so many variables it’s next to impossible to judge whether people’s experiences really reflect a difference in the probe material, or whether it’s just a result of their expectation that it ought to be better, so it is. To be really sure of an effect, one would have to have practitioners and patients using different needles without either knowing which type of needle was being used.

More to the point however: Who cares? It’s not like gold needles cost ten times what stainless do. The cost difference is minimal, especially in comparison with all the other costs involved, such as time and machinery. So why not just use gold?

  • Eric

Just a note, although the practitioner always knows what kind of probe he or she is choosing, the client is always in the dark about that choice, and so it is truely a client’s blind impression of comfort difference when they flinch and demand, “What are you doing different today!”

Most people who have used gold on a client who then switch them to something else without telling the client hear those six words very quickly.

The clients speak loud and clear, there is a preference, and it can be demonstrated as clearly and as often as pepsi beats coke, or the whopper beats the big mac in double blind challenges.

</font><blockquote><font size=“1” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”>quote:</font><hr /><font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Originally posted by James W. Walker VII, CPE:
<strong>… although the practitioner always knows what kind of probe he or she is choosing, the client is always in the dark about that choice …
</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Yes, it’s a “single-blind” trial. While I believe you and defer to your experience, the possibility is there that the practitioner does something different knowing it’s a different needle.

It’s all about eliminating variables. I noticed that my Ballet Gold tapered needles call for lower machine settings than two-piece needles. Ugh. Why would this be? Are they smaller diameter at the tip, causing more of a point effect for the RF?

Is it the gold, or is it a different needle shape? The only way to test this would be to ensure that Ballet Stainless is found to be the same dimensions as Ballet Gold, and those two are compared.

And so on. While I’m curious about the difference, I’m not curious enough to pursue it; there’s no reason I can think of gold would be worse than stainless, so I’ll happily pay the few cents more per needle for Gold, and be done with it.

Dear Diy’er:

I have been reading your and other’s comments for sometime and figured this was a good time to get my “feet wet”. Hope you don’t mind.

I commend you on your curiosity and need-to-know attitude. I only wish more of our practitioners took the same time and asked similar questions. I have been in this business for longer than most as a manufacture, inventor and electrologist and as such have some experience, although I am still learning and curious, just like you.

I would like to comment on a few of your forum comments/questions and see where we go.

  1. Sizing and configuration: There are sadly, no standards for either as far as probes/needles in our profession. And, that is mainly because our probes vary greatly. If our manufacturers could get together, we could feasibly have separate size standards for two-piece needles and for one-piece needles. I don’t see that happening. And then where do the two-piece tapered needles fall?

So, what we have is a conglomeration of sizes, shapes and configurations to choose from. And, I have not even mentioned composition and tensile strength of the Stainless Steels used.

The best that one can do is to experiment (like you have) with different makes and sizes and stiles. But, please, don’t stop short! A one-piece size 3 will feel on insertion nothing like a two-piece 3. Most size designations mean nothing when comparing insertion feel. Try different sizes of one product for a through evaluation.

  1. Tip configuration: They vary from the very sharp to the very blunt and only you
    can judge what is best for you and your client. We manufacture our Uniprobes with a variety of tip configurations and for good reason. If you are treating a client with very fine velous hair, the follicle openings will almost always be small and tight and you will be using a fine probe. Our Uniprobe 2’s are some of the fines probes available at .002 inches in diameter. We hone a sharper point on this size for ease of entering these “tight follicle” openings. Our tip configuration becomes progressively more bullet shaped with the increase of probe diameter.
    (larger hairs, larger follicle openings, larger diameter probe and more rounded tip)

  2. Gold on probes: Be careful of what you hear. Gold was first used on one-
    piece probes because of the allergic reactions of some clients. What the clients skin is reacting to is the nickel content of the Stainless Steel. Coat the Stainless with gold, no reaction.

There are somewhere in the range of 100 grades of Stainless Steel, with a fair percentage that can be used in medical applications. Some contain high amounts of nickel, some contain none! A one-piece needle has a “machined” shaft and two-piece needle has a diamond drawn shaft. To facilitate the machining of a one-piece needle, most use a Stainless Steel with a higher Nickel content. This makes that particular grade of Stainless a “free machining” metal.

Two-piece needles (or straight shaft needles) do not require machining and therefore do not require a high content or any Nickel in the Stainless Steel.
Add to this the fact that a diamond drawn wire is processed with pressure and heat, the result of which is a crystallized finish of the shaft. This finish is as smooth as the surface of the diamond hole it was drawn through. They do not require a gold coating to make them smoother or to “lock in” any Nickel.

Gold is in fact one of the best conductors known to man but the advantage of adding gold to increase conductivity of and electrolysis treatment over Stainless Steel just won’t hold water.

Obviously, I could go on but I am getting finger cramps. I only hope that you will consider my arguments. The best judge of the performance of a given probe, is you. And, the best way to judge is to continue to test and sample. And, that means different stiles, configurations and most importantly, sizes.

Good luck in your practice and please continue your quest for knowledge.


Thanks for your thoughtful post. I didn’t realize the nickel content was associated with the steel’s machinability. I know very little about metal alloys, especially the incredible variety of steels, so it’s always a pleasant surprise when someone can enlighten me.

My comparatively easier time with Ballet probes may have been due to my relative inexperience when starting out with Uni-Probes. I imagine that now, several months into it, I would probably find Uni-Probes quite satisfactory.

However, the main area I’m working on - the pubic area - has mostly low angle hairs, and I’ve found the length of one-piece needles to be advantageous here. Do you normally recommend bending the Uni-Probes at the junction of the wire and the holder when working with low angle hairs?

I agree with you it’s a pity there isn’t more standardization. While, with the exception of needle diameter, there are too many variables to effectively standardize, one might hope at least for standard terminology, such as what the length of the needle refers to.



Hi Eric:

Thanks for the kind words, I know it can be confusing. One thing to keep in mind is that probe length is not only applicable to follicle depth but also has a big effect on probe flexibility or if you prefer rigidity.

Example: I am using a fine probe medium length to work on velous hairs and are having trouble inserting due to excessive flexing of the probe. Rather than switching to a larger diameter probe, I switch to a shorter length probe of the same diameter. The probe will exhibit much more rigidity and make my insertions easier.

On low angle hairs, Uniprobes as with most probes can be bent at an appropriate angle to facilitate insertion. Also, you might consider trying a probe holder with a very small handpiece. These work well in tight areas (under the neck, pubic etc.).

I agree that standardization would be wonderful and has my vote. Second to that I suggest asking probe manufacturers to specify their sizes. In other words, what does a size “2” or “3” mean? You might find that a “3” is infact a “4” in someone else’s probe.

For the record our sizes for our standard needles and Uniprobes have been measured in fractions and/or thousandths of an inch for over 40 years. Our short length is 5/32 inches, medium 3/16 inches and long is 7/32 inches. Our diameters are in thousandths of inch and held to the following tolerances.
They are as follows:
#2 is .002 inches +/- .0002
#3 is .003 “ “
#4 is .004 “ “
#5 is .005 “ “
#6 is .006 “ “
So, the largest our number “2” uniprobe diameter will be is .0022 inches and that is just about as fine as you will find anywhere.

I hope this helps, Harry