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WTOP takes a test drive: caffeine-infused underwear

Monday - 4/4/2011, 8:02am  ET

ipant (Courtesy Photo)
This is not Kristi King. Model courtesy of Wacoal. (Courtesy Photo)
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Did the shaper work? Am I thinner?

WTOP's Kristi King talks about her experiment.


Kristi King,

WASHINGTON - Caffeine-infused underwear that fights cellulite? What? Are you kidding?

When my boss asked me to test the claims, I took up the challenge. Heck, I was scared to death to jump out of an airplane with the Golden Knights, but if I could handle that, I could do this.

The iPant Anti-cellulite Long Leg Shaper is sold in high-end department stores, such as Bloomingdales and Macy's. The manufacturer Wacoal is a reputable company.

These underwear shapers are similar to Spanx, but they promise the bumps you lose will remain smooth even after you take the shapers off.

Literature for the caffeine-infused iPant says most women wearing them 8 hours a day, 7 days a week for 28 days "reported improved appearance, a reduction in thigh measurement and that their clothes felt less tight."

Here are some of the other claims from Wacoal about the iPant material's ingredients:

  • "Caffeine promotes fat destruction";
  • "Vitamin E prevents the effects of aging";
  • "Ceramides restore and maintain the skin's smoothness";
  • "Retinol and aloe vera moisturize and increase the firmness of the skin."

Put aside all the obvious jokes about underwear with "active-ingredients" and you're left with this question: Do they work?

And I'd have to say, "No."

Full disclosure: On day 19, I forgot to put them on. That was the Saturday the U.S. started sending missile strikes into Libya. I was distracted and forgot. But, I did wear the caffeine-infused long leg shapers for a total of 28 days, 7 days a week for 8+ hours a day.

I measured my thighs at days 1, 14 and 28. Each time I lined up the tape measure at the same freckle to try to ensure accurate readings. On day 14 the tape measure did show a minute but discernible difference. Each thigh was about 2 mm smaller. But that difference seemed to have disappeared by day 28.

After 28 days, there also was no change in appearance.

Some other questions, answers, and observations:

  • Do they smell like coffee? No. They don't smell like anything.

  • Are they tight and binding? Not especially. You're not supposed to buy them too small.

  • Are they comfy? Yes. There is no elastic or stitching at the waistline or leg hemlines. That helps prevent bulges at the waist and lower leg providing smooth transition lines under clingy clothes.

  • What do they feel like? The stretchy material holds its shape similar to a popped balloon but it doesn't grip like rubber and is smooth.

  • Do the promised effects also work on your tummy? Here's what I found: The top waistband on mine tended to roll down to the edge of the waistline on my pants.

  • Are they expensive? $60 each. I bought two pairs and WTOP reimbursed me. Total: $120.

Also an observation I don't think is just in my head: On some occasions the shapers gave my skin a tingly feeling similar to a Mentholatum rub. Perhaps the so-called active ingredients were creating a physiological response to my being warm or worked up about something.

The first time I noticed that mild effect I was driving to report on what emergency responders initially thought was a 737 airliner crash in Southeast. (The plane landed safely using one engine.) Another day I experienced that mild tingling the huge earthquake hit Japan. The newsroom seemed warm. I also perceived the effect one time while keeping notes for this story. Placebo effect? I can't say.

Wacoal's iPant long leg anti-cellulite shaper is a great underwear shaper, as shapers go. It's comfortable, well made and seems durable. It prevents panty lines and creates a smoothing effect under your clothes. Once you get those clothes off however, if there's anything you want to hide, you might want to keep the lights off!

Follow Kristi and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)