Looking to do it at home

First time posting, but have been reading a bit on these oh-so-informative forums. Now, I would like to seek active advice.

I am considering electrolysis for my wife. This lovely lady has hair in more places than she would like, and while a previous laser treatment helped, there has been more regrowth than she would like. Part of this I am sure is due to limited treatments (we had to move after only 3 treatments), but she is also dark-haired & light skinned, with the majority of the hair being coarse.

So the immediate goal is the few pesky hairs that remain after chin, chest, and neck lasing. But a longer-term goal would be other areas, such as legs, bikini/crotch area, & perhaps armpits.

I have already ordered Mike Bono’s book, and have checked out some of the Ebay links here, but still need more info on which pro unit to buy. I don’t want to imply that money is no matter, but I DO want to get a good quality unit that will last, as well as be fairly easy to get supplies for.

I know that the process will be slow, but I am called anal by my lovely spouse for a reason, and no task I am willing to undertake is too small but to apply myself fully. I don’t expect to become a pro, and I doubt I continue this as a business, but I DO want to be the best I can become at home.

I hope to receive the book by mid-December, and do some heavy reading to round out what I have been learning here, but I would also like to hear input from the knowledgeable folks here. We live in Korea, and while using a professional is not out of the question, it is a tad more challenging with the language barrier issue.

So to start off, let me ask about the leg situation… as I mentioned, her hair is very coarse, it grows very fast (think shave at 8:00, stubble by 9:00, hurts my legs to rub against them by 9:30, sooner if she gets cold). Would it be better to zap them with a laser first (Alex 755), then follow up with Electro? Will it hurt anything if we used electro for a bit, then went laser, and finished with electro to finish up any stragglers?

I read in a post by Dr. Walker that pros can hit a new follicle every .2-.5 seconds. That is simply incredible. But at the DIY rate, about how much are could a person expect to cover in an hour? I mean, are we talking a year to complete one leg? Or just a few months? I know no one here can judge another’s skills/abilities over the internet, but I am trying to get a realistic idea to report back to the wife.

What are some minimum things to look for in an Ebay purchase? I am sure that the ones mentioned in the post about good ones on Ebay are all good, but it seems like digital, auto-sensing, and such features must be nice to have. Yet it seems that a good job can be done by a DIYer with some less sophisticated equipment, for less cost. But are the newer ones SAFER, particularly in the hands of a novice?

Thanks in advance for any insight you guys & gals can provide. I’ve already learned a lot here, and look forward to furthering my education with your help.


All good questions. Being a DIYer I might be able to answer some of them for you. I can write more tomorrow, but first I’ll touch on the equipment.

If you can, give us a ballpark idea on what you can spend. If you can afford it (over 500, maybe 1000 or so) buy a more modern epilator that can do flash, maybe microflash. I am a bit partial to the Apilus units, own an SM-500, does almost everything just short of a Platinum and no shortage of options for a DIYer. The Instantron Elite Spectrum is also a nice machine, and the pros here can offer more recommendations. I am partial to the Apilus because many professionals use them (both electrologists I go to use them), they are commonly used in schools and they have all the latest bells and whistles that can make things easier and more effective. Avoid underpowered or ineffective machines like the Vector units that are common on ebay. Stick to the well known brands (Apilus, Instantron, Fischer, Hinkel, Gentronics, Silhouet-Tone etc.)

Two machines that the pros here don’t recommend for novices are the Apilus Platinum and the Silhouet-Tone VMC.

You can get a circle lamp magnifier for 50-200 depending on your need. There is also magnifiers and loupes you wear, or if you are really determined and have the cash, a surgical scope likes James uses (I almost landed one for $700 on eBay once.)

I am a DIYer, working on my own body. I can clear 120 hairs an hour, 2 hairs a minute. For a pro using microflash thermolysis that would be laughable, but for a DIYer working on themselves I don’t think it is too bad. It did take me 120 hours of practice or so before I got that fast. When you start off you will begin with galvanic, and will be doing a hair every 3 minutes or so. As you progress from galvanic, to blend, to thermo, and then to flash/micro thermo your speed will also increase.

On the safety issue, the newer ones are actually MORE safe than the older ones, because the computer programs actually make it less likely for an inexperienced person to mistakenly do a treatment on a current that is too high for the skin one is working on. In fact, the Apilus Platinum and Apilus SX-500 and SM-500 will refuse to do a treatment energy that seems ridiculous to the machine without confirmation steps to prove that you actually know what you are doing and actually mean to use an energy that high.

It is much easier for the novice to say to the machine, "I am working on a person’s legs, and I would like to try an average treatment energy, and then increase it up from there by asking for levels 6, 7, 8, and 9 if needed, instead of guessing and inputing something that will blow a hole in one’s flesh.

Having said that, one can do good work with an older unit, IF ONE KNOWS WHAT ONE IS DOING. There is the rub, the newer machines are actually easier to do good treatment with, if you don’t know what you are doing, while the older machines are much less forgiving of your short comings.

So true. There are so many different beeps on my Aplius Platinum. One sounds like a choo-choo train if I forgot to enable a clients file. One program sounds like the old Atari game “Pong” and if I abort an insertion that sound is like the sound on Mario Brothers when something gets eaten by the big fish. (Don’t play video games, so I’m doing my best here.) The machine will keep your head in the game if you get busy talking and forget to do something, which of course happens so seldom to me :/.

LOL at the “game” aspect of it. Good thing you are NOT a gamer, imagine the poor patient’s reaction if you thought you had missed the ball in pong and threw the stylus down and yelled? :slight_smile:

IIRC, a Platinum is only sold to professionals, and based on the description here, I doubt seriously that I could afford it anyway. As to how much to spend, well, that is why I am seeking your advice. I believe I saw one that the good Dr. showed on Ebay as legitimate that was around $1500, and it was touted to be as good as or better than what some clinics have. I don’t mind spending that kind of money for the ease and security mentioned here. OTOH, if I can get that same security by spending $1000, I’d much rather save the $500 so that I can purchase a celebratory bottle of Chablis when I successfully epilate my first square inch of unwanted hair from my wife. :wink:

Another question I have is one of support… if I buy a unit such as the Senior II mentioned here http://cgi.ebay.com/Electrolysis-Apilus-Senior-II-Epilator_W0QQitemZ220319668145QQihZ012QQcategoryZ37802QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem from whom would I buy parts such as cords & needles? Perhaps a better way to ask is… are there any brands out there in the $500-1500 range to stay away from due to lack of support?

Actually, you are lucky in this aspect. Texas Electrolysis Supply services and supplies all brands, and if the company is out of business, they make parts to fit the discontinued machine.

Thank you, Dr. Walker. So is that link you posted for the Senior II a good deal, as in one I should jump at now, or do better come along? While I am not exactly in a hurry to buy yet (need to read, read, read when the book arrives), if it is truly recommended by professionals such as yourself here, I’d hate to pass up a good deal.

If there are any others that you think would be better for my situation, please advise me. Also, if this is “too much” machine for me, I would like to know that too.


The first one in that list:

Ebay Item # 170282947804 Apilus Senior II

Is the best price. One will just have to purchase the missing parts when the machine arrives. I guarantee you it won’t cost another $800 to replace everything.

I probably should have qualified that the Platinum is so expensive it is probably not practical for a DIYer, not to mention the skill required to take full advantage of its capabilities and get your money’s worth from it. Of course, if I found a Platinum for $1000 or less, I’d be there with money in hand before you could blink. :wink:

The Senior II is a nice machine and a good deal. You can get all the attachments and cords from not only TES (best price) but you could also get them from Dectro directly (www.dectro.com), and it is unlikely that they are going out of business anytime soon, so no need to worry. You can get a copy of the manual (I recommend it, trust me) by emailing Dectro and they will send you a PDF of the manual (you can also order a print manual for $20 or so.)

Off the top of my head, the needleholders are $26 (you can buy 2 and have 2 plugged in at once if you want), a black cable and a red cable are $14 each (buy both), an electrode/ground is $14, a cata/anaphoresis roller is $18, needlecaps are $1.50 each (buy a dozen or so, needleholders come with one cap when you buy them but they are easy to lose), and a footswitch is $45. Don’t forget to order your needles too (buy a variety of sizes.) I also bought a power conditioner to plug my machine into, I think there is some debate as to whether it is necessary (pros please comment) but for a $1000 machine $50 of protection seems like a good investment.

Oddly, the seller of the Senior II insists he doesn’t have any attachments, nor needles, but in the picture you can see cords plugged in and some Pro-Tec needles (sizes 2 4 and 5 given the color codes) in the background. Weird. :confused:

Power conditioners are a good investment. If a power spike burned out your motherboard, or power supply, the round trip shipping on your machine would be equal to the cost of the power conditioner. That doesn’t include the parts and labor.

I saw this on TES site…

We have expired needles
in Gold & SS Two Piece.

Selling Below Cost!

What is an “expired” needle, and would they work with the Senior II?

Before I buy several needles, should I go with gold or SS?

Also, on TES, I see the following:
Apilus Needle Cord - Long $39.50
Apilus Red Electrode Cord $13.95
Apilus Red Electrode Cord $13.95
Apilus Needle Cord - Short $39.50

But I don’t see the other items you mentioned. I searched for Apilus items; are the ones you mentioned generic, for any brand? And would oyu recommend long, short, or both (you mentioned having two needles, not sure why though).

Another issue to overcome is the user manual… he does not have one, is that something I can download, or perhaps buy from the manufacturer?

Thanks a bunch!

BTW, I asked about the “cordless” Senior II, and the reply was that he thinks the cords may have been lost, that the pic is old. So pay no attention to what you see, it is but a figment of your 'magernation!

“Expired” just means the expiration date on the needles has expired (and the company who made them will not legally guarantee sterility after that date.) However, they are almost certainly still sterile if the individual packet each needle comes in is undamaged. I use them all the time, no problems. They are cheaper than “unexpired” needles.

Make sure your needles are “F-shank”, which most machines today take (my old Instantron and all Apilus machines I have seen use them.) I believe de facto, they are F-shank unless they say K-shank (pros, please correct me if I am wrong.)

The generic electrode and roller are fine.

Go to dectro.com and email the sales folks, they will email a PDF copy of the Senior II manual which you can print out, or order a printed copy from them.

Two needleholders allows you to have one needle of one size in one, one size in another. At least that is how I use them. Or, I would guess with identical needles in both, if one needle breaks or wears out, a pro wouldn’t have to stop and put a new needle in and can just switch to the other (when you are a pro time is of the essence.)

What is the recommended diopter that I should get if I get a magnifying lamp? Though it’s been a LONG time since I looked thru one, I would guess 3 is next to worthless, so a 5-8 range would be my guess for a starting point. Am I close?

I wouldn’t say 3 is worthless, I have used a 3 diopter lens and it worked fine on the easy to reach and see at any angle hairs (the hair on the inner calves, on the hands, on the inner arm, etc.) After a while, you may want a stronger lens and can upgrade easily since most quality lamps allow you to change lenses easily (Luxo, Dazor come to mind.)

Thanks, Vickie. Perhaps I will start with a lamp then (3-5 perhaps), and if I find that is not working, I can always upgrade to loupes in the future. Thinking about it, the hair on the face will be the hardest, it is finer, but I know even with a 3diop, I will be able to work on the coarse leg hairs.

Looking at Dectro, all I can find is disposable needles.

  1. Do I want disposable? It seems permanent would be more… permanent. If I do get disposable, since I will only be working on one person, how long could I expect to reuse a needle before it gets worn out?
  2. Pro-Tec or Ballet?
  3. What is the diff between 2-piece and single? Need to decide on that part, too.
  4. Insulated vs. not? I assume the insulation is near the probe, to protect the skin, directing current deep in the follicle. This sounds better, especially for a novice such as myself. Am I getting this concept correct?
  5. I cannot find a roller there to perform cata/anaphoresis.

Sorry for these simple questions, I am sure the book will answer many of them, but I am nothing if not anxious & persistent.

Magnifier - http://www.firststreetonline.com/product.jsp?id=103864

Would something like this work? If it is 2.5X, that should be 10 diopter, correct? And it appears to not have too short of a focal length, from the pic, though it’s not actually specified in the ad.

Depending on the manufacturer one would convert Magnification and diopter by:
Magnification = Diopter/4
Magnification = (Diopter/4) + 1

These are the two formulas typically used to convert between M power (Magnification , how much larger an object looks) and D (Diopter, a measure of focal length).

If it is really 2.5x’s Magnification, the diopter would be
Magnification multiplied by 4 = Diopter
(Magnification multiplied by 4) -1 = Diopter

This would give you 10 or 9 Diopter, depending on the manufacturer.

Wow, that was a long way to go to say, “You were right”, but we need to make sure the rest of the class is on the same page. :grin:

Unless you are just doing legs, I would find a 3 Diopter comparatively worthless when one could be looking through a 10 diopter. The thing I caution is focal length. Having a 10 diopter won’t help you if the focal length is too close for you to fit your hands and tools in between the lense and the treatment area. One must also worry about getting enough light on the treatment area as well.

In other news, I would have to say that I am unaware of any new machines that use the K shanks. I think the new stuff is all F shank.

As for the probe holders, some are long handle, and some are short handle, and depending on where you are working, you would need a shorter handle for ease of use in a tight spot. Most electrologists have their perferred length and one other probe holder that is shorter for those tight spots where one doesn’t have space to move around that larger probe holder.

Thanks for the info, James. I know it’s near impossible to tell, but from the picture on that site, it APPEARS that focal length is good enough to work with.

I have looked a bit, for example at Dazor, and am amazed that the focal length is so short for the lighted magnifiers. I mean, at 5 diopter, only 8" are available, and at ll diopter, only 3.75"??? Feggedaboudit!! http://www.dazor.com/lighted-magnifier.html

I can easily see why you would prefer loupes, I just don’t know if that is a viable option for what I will be doing. Then again, I am nearing retirement, and AM looking for a new career field within the next 5 years… perhaps this endeavour will be what it takes to persuade me to slide over to the dark side of electrolysis! :wink:

Please keep all of the info coming, I appreciate it. I am still seeking answers above that have received no comment, such as:

  1. Solid or 2-piece needles
  2. Where to buy non-disposable needles, and will any brand work with the senior? These: https://www.electricspa.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=CTGY&Category_Code=Pre+Non+Disp. look good, but not enough info for my novice eyes to seal the deal. One thing I DO like is the lower number of needles, so I can get more variety of size as opposed to many of one size.


I started out with non-disposable (Precision brand), 2-piece probes, simply because that’s what we used at school. Six years later when I’d had enough of packaging and sterilizing those tiny things, I called a few suppliers and asked for samples of disposables. I loved the one-piece Ballet, especially the gold, and have been a Ballet girl ever since (Does that make me a Ballerina?). When I bought my Apilus, Dectro included several boxes of their 2-piece probes. I’ve used them a couple of times when I’ve run out of a particular Ballet size. They are better than what I remember the 2-piece probes being back in the 80’s and early 90’s, but I still prefer the Ballet. For me, the Ballet allows me more control in placing the probe in the follicle. With the one-piece I can “feel” a bad insertion before it becomes a bad insertions.

Even though you’ll only be using the probe on one person, it still needs to be either sterilized or disposable. You wouldn’t reuse your own fork a week later without washing it.

Ask for samples of different sizes in the 1 and 2 piece probes to see what feels good in your hands.

I personally prefer TES and Prestiege. TES ranks #1 with me. Myron has been generous over the years with my state association and their staff has always provided excellent customer service.