Women's shavers range in cost from $5 to $50, with electric shavers hovering at the pricey end of the spectrum. While electric shavers are good options because they're long-lasting and you don't need to use water and soap, beauty experts note that women generally prefer manual razors for the close shave they give. The blades on a manual shaver have direct contact with the skin, whereas the blades on an electric shaver are covered in screens and foils that protect the skin from nicks and cuts, which interferes with the closeness of the shave. The good news for frugal shoppers is that manual razors are not only the most popular, they also cluster at the low end of the price spectrum.
Cheap Women's Razors Buying Guide
Among manual shavers, two brands dominate the women's market: Gillette and Schick. Expert reviews of razors are scarce, but reviews by everyday users are abundant. That being said, user reviews of any given razor vary in their praise or criticism depending on the area being shaved, the shaving method, and the user's personal preference.
Electric Shavers.Very few electric shavers fit into the Cheapism niche. Among those that come close is the Remington WDF 1600 Smooth & Silky Ultra Shaver (starting at $20). This women's electric shaver has two safe screens that protect the skin from cuts, a trimmer for catching missed or long hair, and a comfort strip that's comparable to a moisture strip on a manual razor. The Remington WDF 1600 can be used in or out of the shower, and replacement foils and screens start at around $17 each; compared to the price of replacement cartridges for inexpensive manual shavers, this is a bit pricey. This razor generally receives decent reviews from consumers, although one review on Amazon reports that it caused irritation under her arms that lasted for at least a week.
Closeness of Shave.Several factors stand out when considering the type of shaver women prefer -- the most important being the closeness of the shave, which is often described as the smooth, silky feeling you're left with after shaving. Many women also note that the closer the shave, the longer they can go between shaves -- a major plus for busy gals. According to HowStuffWorks, two blades give a closer shave than a single blade, and four blades give a closer shave than two. The reason: the first blade pulls the hair up as you shave and the second blade follows behind and cuts it. With four blades, the process is repeated twice, getting missed hairs and recutting already cut hairs even shorter. Many manual women's shavers, including the Schick Intuition Plus (starting at $8.40), the Schick Quattro (starting at $8.50), and the Schick Quattro Disposable (starting at $5.99 for a package of three), have four blades. The Gillette Venus Divine (starting at $11) features three blades and the Gillette Venus Embrace (starting at $8.30) has five, although HowStuffWorks notes that the reason for a fifth blade is unknown.
Comfort Features.Although closeness of shave is the most important performance attribute for women's shavers, comfort is a close second. Many women report getting nicks, cuts, and irritated skin while shaving. Such outcomes make the whole shaving thing a real downer and prompt users to toss the culprit shaver for good. A couple of features can help make this grooming activity all the more pleasant.
Flexible Head:A flexible or pivot head on a women's razor lets the blades move and adjust to the angle of the shave. For women this is critical because of the variety of areas that are shaved; knees, ankles, and armpits are easily nicked without the flexibility of a pivot head. Among others, the Schick Intuition Plus, the Schick Quattro, the Schick Quattro Disposable, and the Gillette Venus Divine all feature a flexible head. The flexible head feature is pretty standard for women's manual shavers, with the exception of some disposable razors, such as the Bic Soleil Disposable (starting at $5.62).
Nonslip Grip:When shaving in the shower, which is where most women prefer to shave, the combination of water and soap make it easy to lose your grip on the razor's handle. Many shavers for women now feature nonslip grips that are easier to hold and less likely to slip from your hand. Both Schick and Gillette make several women's shavers with a nonslip grip, which also helps prevent the kind of slipping that causes nicks and cuts; examples include the Schick Intuition Plus, the Gillette Venus Devine, the Schick Quattro, and the Schick Quattro Disposable.
Moisture Strip:A moisture strip deposits soothing gel on your skin during shaving. This feature helps the razor glide smoothly over your skin while locking in moisture to prevent irritation, a rash, or itchiness when you're done. Several cheap women's shavers with a moisture strip include the Schick Intuition Plus, the Gillette Venus Divine and the Gillette Spa Breeze (starting at $10). One thing to note is that the moisture strip can only be replaced when the blade is replaced, so you want a moisture strip that lasts as long as the blade. One consumer writes on Amazon that the moisture strip is goopy at first with the Gillette Spa Breeze, but it wears out quickly and then you need to lather with soap or shaving cream to prevent cuts. Whether you choose to use additional moisturizing lotion after shaving with a moisture strip razor is obviously your choice; consumer reviews are generally silent on this matter.
Convenience.Convenience is a big plus for women when choosing a cheap shaver. Two inexpensive shavers for women that make shaving relatively easy and convenient are the Schick Intuition Plus and the Gillette Spa Breeze. Both have eliminated the need for shaving cream: Each features a block of lotion or lather around the blade that lathers up the area as you shave. While the two shavers differ in other ways, users say that shaving time with either is greatly decreased. One busy mom posting on Kaboose.com even says the Schick Intuition Plus is a regular in her beauty arsenal for its convenience factor. Although many cheap women's shavers have a moisture strip -- including these two -- the Schick Intuition Plus and Gillette Spa Breeze stand out because you can safely and comfortably shave without shaving cream or soap lather. Note that a few users with very sensitive skin or allergies to skin care products find these lathers can cause reactions.
Replacement Razor Blades.Blades in manual razors are easy to replace: just drop a multi-blade cartridge into the head and off you go. But replacement blades are where cheap women's razors start to get pricey. Most replacement blades cost almost as much as the razor itself, and because the blades dull and the moisture strip runs out after several uses, replacement blades are a big factor when choosing the type of razor to purchase. The Gillette Venus Embrace, for example, comes with two replacement blades in the original package, with a package of four replacement blades costing about $15; the Schick Intuition Plus and Schick Quattro don't come with any replacement blades, which cost $10 per pack of three blades and four blades, respectively; the Gillette Venus Divine comes packaged with two replacement blades, with extra packages of four going for $11.Just in case you're thinking this is a high ongoing cost, the alternatives are slim. Electric shavers are not only more expensive to begin with, but the price of replacement blades is also greater. With the Remington WDF 1600, you'll have to shell out $17 for one replacement blade, and as a consumer notes in a review on Amazon, this is almost as much as the original cost of the electric razor. (Note that several users comment on Amazon that the replacement blade doesn't fit properly in the razor.) The only way to avoid replacement blades is with a disposable shaver, such as the Schick Quattro Disposable razor.
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Features Comparison Buying Guide continues below table
Women's Shaver Reviews
Hair Removal.Women's shaver reviews are written primarily by users, rather than experts, and the consumer's product of choice depends largely on individual preferences. Yet, we've managed to narrow the cheap women's razors down to a few choices that most women seem to value above other shavers. When it comes to manual shavers vs. electric, frugal shoppers are in luck. Not only are the manual shavers cheaper, the blade is much closer to the skin, so you get a closer shave.Still, some manual shavers deliver better results than others. Although the Gillette Venus Divine razor has only three blades, a review on Buzzillions says it gives a close shave, minimizes irritation, and is easy to use. The Schick Intuition Plus razor garners similarly favorable comments from users posting women's shaver reviews on Drugstore.com, with one women noting she uses it daily to remove the dark, coarse hair on her legs; and one consumer post on Amazon claims the Schick Intuition Plus gives her the closest shave she's ever gotten without razor burn or nicks. A women's shaver review on the Walmart site praises the ideal close shave delivered by the Schick Quattro, while another Walmart shopper reports that the Schick Quattro Disposable is ideal for a close shave around the sensitive bikini area. On the other hand, reviewers of the Gillette Venus Embrace note that five blades don't get the close shave that one would expect and one reviewer at Amazon says there was too much bulky plastic around the blade, making the delicate bikini area hard to get at with this shaver.
Ease of Use.Another good thing about women's manual razors is their ease of use. With manual razors, there are no cords, batteries, or attachments to fuss with. Schick Intuition Plus doesn't even require shaving cream -- simply wet the blade and start shaving. Users rave about this razor on Drugstore.com, saying it cuts down on shaving time in part because the slightly larger head covers more area faster; one user, a member of the United States military, reports that the Schick Intuition Plus is the first razor that allows her to quickly and comfortably shave in tight spaces and in a limited time while on active duty, and then suggests that every military woman should have one. With the Gillette Spa Breeze there's also no need for shaving cream, but a review on the Walgreens website grouses about having to push down to get a close shave and when you do, the shaver cuts around the knees; the reviewer concludes that this shaver is acceptable for a quick shave, but not a close shave.
Cleanup.After you've finished shaving, there's one thing left to do: clean the razor. Usually this calls for holding the shaver under running water, but with some inexpensive shavers for women, that's easier said than done because they get clogged up. One consumer writes in a women's razor review on Amazon that the shaver's five blades cause the hair to get stuck well before the blades dull. Hair clogs easily in the disposable Schick Quattro, as well, according to comments posted on Buzzillions. But this doesn't seem to be a major issue for most cheap manual women's shavers.
Replacement Blades.The price of replacement blades is a complaint about cheap shavers for women across the board. Disposable razors may be a good solution for saving money on replacements, although many disposable razors don't offer the same comfort or convenience as manual shavers that use replacement blades. Still, some disposable razors have their partisans. Several consumers posting manual women's shavers reviews at Drugstore.com say the disposable Schick Quattro is the best of its kind, and a reviewer on Epinions claims this razor left her legs feeling soft as silk.The amount of time that blades last on women's razors varies by user, with some reporting that they get just a week's worth of use and others reporting longer periods before the blades dull. In women's shaver reviews on Drugstore.com, users carp about the price of the Gillette Venus Divine replacement blades, but they like the shave and say the blades stay sharp for weeks. A review on Amazon refers to the Schick Quattro replacement blades as the ultimate razor refill, noting that the replacements last for quite a while.
In sum, the choice of a cheap women's manual shaver is highly personal. You won't get much guidance from professional reviews because there really aren't any, but you can be assured that manual razors rule the category. They provide the closest shave, with comfort and convenience, and a lower price tag than their electric counterparts.