Braun Silk-Epil 3 3170 Epilator Review

Product Name

Reviewed by

Sue McCarthy

Review date


This is Braun's basic, functional epilator for legs, currently retailing at around $45. It has a couple of features not found on most basic models i.e. massaging rollers and integral light and is designed for dry, corded use only. The 20 tweezer head is not as big as some on the market, but sufficient to cover legs in around 20 minutes. Comes complete with a 2 year manufacturer's guarantee. All in all, a good purchase from a respected manufacturer if you are on a budget and not interested in added attachments and fancy features


4.0 out of 5 Stars

Product Overview

A low-cost, no frills epilator from the well-known Braun Brand which is designed for corded, dry use only and suitable for leg hair removal.

Braun Silk-Epil 3 3170 Box

Manufactured in Germany, it is at the bottom of the Silk-Epil Range from Braun and lacks the added features of the more expensive models.

It would be a good value-for-money option for first-time users wanting to try out epilators or anyone on a budget.

The product comes with a 2 year manufacturer's guarantee to cover any defects or faults within the period.​

​Other models in the series are the Silk-Epil 5, Silk-Epil 7 and Silk-Epil 9.

What's In the Box?​

Contents of the box:

Braun Silk-Epil 3 3179 - in the box
  • Braun Epilator with Massaging Roller Cap in place
  • Mains Adaptor (100 - 240v)
  • Cleaning Brush
  • Instruction Booklet and Guarantee Details

​Product Features

20 Tweezer Epilation Head

The Silk-Epil 3 has an easily detachable epilator head, with a series of 20 tweezers on a roller.

It can be removed for cleaning by depressing the little buttons on either side of the head to release it.

It is returned by simply clicking the head back into place.

Massaging Rollers Attachment​

The device is fitted with a detachable cap featuring 2 massaging rollers.

Silk-Epil 3 Massaging Roller Cap

The idea of these rollers is to stimulate the skin before and after the hair is pulled out, to make the experience more comfortable.

Although I found that it made the epilator nice and easy to glide across the skin, I can't say that I noticed any particular difference to the level of pain in using the device, compared to others we have tried.​

This cap is detached easily from the head by pushing off from the back for cleaning, but should always be in place when epilating.

Dual Speed​

The Silk-Epil 3 has dual speed control, the slower speed for gentler epilation and the faster speed for more efficient, quicker epilation.

As shown in the pictures above, the switch is set to 0 for the "off" position, I is for the slower speed and II is for the faster speed.

Integral Light​

Silk-Epil3 3170 Integral Light

Light located above switch, positioned to show up any fine, hard to see hairs 

The integral light, located at the top of the power switch comes on automatically when the device is switched on.

The inclusion of the light is quite a good little feature for a relatively low-cost epilator.

It is positioned so that it illuminates the skin being epilated to show up any hard to see, very fine hairs that might otherwise be missed.

Mains Operation

The device has a mains adaptor for corded, dry use only.

Silk-Epil 3 3170 Cord

Mains Adaptor with 7ft cord

The advantages of this are that you do not need to keep remembering to recharge batteries and there is no need to worry about loss of power as the battery runs down.​

Although it means that you need to use it near a power outlet, the cord is a lengthy 7ft (2.25m), so should be sufficient to allow for comfortable use.​

Where Can it be Used?​

Silk-Epil 3 3170 for legs

This particular model is designed for use on the legs and is not recommended for other parts of the body.

The only Silk-Epil 3 model which is recommended for use on legs and body is the Silk-Epil 3 3370.  This model includes the added feature of a sensitive area cap, for underarms and bikini-line, to make epilating more comfortable in these particularly sensitive areas, but is more expensive.

How Long Does it Take?​

It is not possible to be precise about this, as it depends on how dense the hair is and the speed you are using.

As a rough guide, we found 20 minutes to be sufficient to epilate both legs, using the faster speed.​

Hair regrowth rates do vary from one individual to another, but you are likely to need to repeat the process approximately every 2 weeks to keep your legs smooth and hair-free.​

​How to Use

Obviously, as with any electrical device, it is important to read the instructions through thoroughly prior to use, paying particular attention to safety precautions.

Silk-Epil 3 3170 in hand

We have outlined below a summary of how to use the Silk-Epil 3 3170, taken from the leaflet provided with the device:

General Information​

  • Irritation - It is normal to experience some redness and/or irritation from epilation, especially for first time users or those with sensitive skin.  This should disappear quickly - if skin still shows irritation after 36 hours, it is recommended that you contact your physician
  • Infection - inflammation of the skin could occur when bacteria penetrate the skin - thorough cleaning of the epilation head prior to each use with minimise this risk
  • Consult Physician - prior to use if you have any of the following: eczema, wounds, inflamed skin reactions, varicose veins, diabetes mellitus, during pregnancy, Raynaud's disease, haemophilia or immune deficiency
  • Moles - do not use on moles
  • Optimum Hair Length - epilation is less painful if hair is at the optimum length of 2 - 5mm.  The longer the hair the more painful the epilation process.
  • Exfoliate Regularly - to help prevent ingrown hairs

How to Epilate

  • Make sure skin is dry and free from chemicals or cosmetics
  • Ensure that the epilation head is clean 
  • Select the required speed by sliding the on/off switch to the correct setting
  • Rub skin to ensure that short hairs are standing up
  • Hold appliance at 90 degree angle to the skin
  • Guide it, without exerting pressure, from bottom of leg to top, against the direction of the hair's growth.


  • Unplug appliance and remove massaging roller cap from the tweezer head
  • Remove the tweezer head from the device
  • Thoroughly clean tweezers using the cleaning brush provided, dipped in alcohol to sterilise
  • To clean, you can turn the roller manually to get to all of the tweezers
  • Replace the epilation head and massaging roller cap onto the device

How Epilators Work​

Epilators are basically electronic tweezers, which are able to pluck many hairs both quickly and simultaneously.

Braun Silk-Epil 3 3170 Epilator Head

Close up of the epilator head showing the tweezers located on the roller

The Silk-Epil 3 3170 model has a series of 20 sets of metal plates on a roller.

As the roller rotates, the plates come together and then apart again in a pincer movement, to trap the hairs, pull them out and then let them go​.

Why Choose to Use an Epilator for Hair Removal?​

Using an epilator for hair removal at home has one distinct advantage over shaving, waxing and depilatory creams;  you have the initial outlay and that is it, apart from possibly the very occasional need for replacement parts.

There are other advantages which epilators have over each other method:​

 Camparison with Shaving

The main advantage epilators have over shavers is that they have longer-lasting results.

Whereas shaving is more or less a daily activity for most, epilators pull hair out at the root and therefore the results can last for several weeks.

In addition, regrowth tends to be finer and without the stubble effect of shaved hair.

​Obviously this is offset against the fact that shaving is pain-free and epilating most definitely is not.

Comparison with Waxing​

Although waxing has a similar effect to using an epilator, it also affects the surrounding skin, taking the top layer off with the hair, which the epilator does not.

Also, epilators can be effective on much shorter regrowth (as little as 0.5mm) and it is not at all messy.

There are, of course, other factors and we have published a separate article detailing the full pros and cons of Epilators vs Waxing.​

Comparison with Depilatory Creams

Depilatory creams last a little longer than shaving and are pain-free (providing you have no allergies to the ingredients) but again, the results of epilators are longer lasting.

I see the main advantage as being that depilatory creams use strong chemicals to dissolve the hair, which can be very harsh on the skin and not environmentally friendly, whereas epilators do not.

How Painful is it?

The level of pain is difficult to quantify, as each individual's experiences differ as does their threshold for pain.

If you have ever tweezed hair, perhaps if you can image the pain from that magnified significantly, it will give you a clue.

Some find that epilating is just too painful and give up, however it is universally agreed that, if you do persevere, the pain lessens over time as the skin builds a resilience to the process.  Some even report no pain at all (the lucky few, I think!).​

Minimising the Pain

These are a few tips to help keep the pain to a minimum:

  • Exfoliate regularly - and before epilating
  • Warm Shower or Bath to open the pores prior to epilating
  • Hold skin very taut to help hairs stand up and avoid pinching
  • Baby powder can be rubbed into skin to help hair stand up
  • Length of hair should be at the ideal length (optimum 2 - 5mm) the longer the hair the more painful the process

What about Side Effects?

It is likely, especially for the first few times, that you will experience some redness and/or irritation of the skin, but it should pass very quickly.

You may also notice tiny red blood spots, and an open-pore look to the skin.​

A good idea is to epilate in the evening when you are not planning to go out, until you are fully aware of any possible effects.​

Exfoliating Exfoliate

Exfoliate regularly to minimise ingrown hairs

The other risk with any form of hair removal that involves plucking hair out at the root is that of ingrown hairs.

The risk can be minimised by regular exfoliation to remove dead skin cells and bacteria, and encourage any hair under the skin to break through the surface.​

We have published various articles about ingrown hairs and how to avoid them​.

Braun Silk-epil 3 - Questions and Answers

Is it rechargeable?

No, it needs to be plugged directly into the mains

​Can it be used for underarms?

This device is not recommended for underarms, it is intended for use on the legs only

​Does the hair grow back thinner?

Yes, over time it will appear thinner and less dense

Can you wash the head under running water?

No - this device is not designed to be wet - you need to clean it with the brush provided, dipped in alcohol as described above

Where is it made?

The device is made in Germany

In Conclusion

This epilator is easy to use and works well for its intended purpose - leg hair removal.

If you are a first time epilator and want to try it out without paying too muc​h, this could be for you.

I would say though, that there are products on the market at a similar price that can also be used for underarms and bikini-line, so it is worth thinking about this prior to purchase.

Things we Liked

  • Low cost - available at around $45, a one-off cost
  • Dual Speed - adjustable speed for comfort or efficiency
  • No recharging - just plug in and use
  • Detachable Head - easy to clean
  • Integral Light - to make finer, flatter hairs easy to see
  • Massaging Rollers - easy to glide across skin
  • Guarantee - 2 year manufacturers guarantee 

Things we didn't Like

  • Corded - restricted to using near a mains electric socket
  • Basic Model - recommended use for legs only
  • Dry Use Only

For the past 12 months, I have been testing and playing with all sorts of hair removal products for Hair Free Life. My goal is to provide the most accurate and up-to-date hair removal consumer information on the internet. When I'm not photographing, reviewing and researching hair removal products I play the drums in a samba band and am a volunteer for the Swindon Lions! Got any questions? Write to us below: