Which hair-removal tool is right for me?
If you shave your legs, you cover more surface area every day than a man shaving his face and head. That's why finding the most comfortable, effective hair-removal method -- one that suits your lifestyle and needs -- is so important. Fortunately, women have many options for removing unwanted hair that take into account a woman's needs and unique body type.
Razors -- refillable or disposable -- are popular and affordable. These work similarly to a man's razor, but are more likely to have ergonomic handles and pivoting heads to make maneuvering around knees and ankles more manageable. Many have moisturizing strips built in to eliminate the need for shaving creams or gels. You just toss disposable razors when you're done with them. With refillable razors, you have to factor in the cost of the cartridge refills, which can add up. How long you can use a disposable razor or cartridge refill is highly variable. Some women need to replace them weekly, some use them for months.
Electric razors are great for women with sensitive skin. This can reduce your risk of nicks, cuts and razor burns. Women with bleeding disorders should always use an electric razor. They only remove surface hair and don't shave quite as closely as a razor, but some do a pretty good job. Many can even be used in water so you can still shave in the shower.
Epilators use tiny, motorized tweezers to pluck hair out at the root. Epilating is slower than shaving, to the point that some women will only use epilators on small areas like the underarms and bikini line. As you might imagine, the plucking process can be painful as well, and not everybody chooses to endure it. Those who do, however, say the long-lasting results (two to three weeks) are worth it, and that it gets less painful as your skin adapts and hair grows back finer and more sparsely.
Bikini-line shavers and trimmers have a special place in your grooming. They are designed for the tricky angles and confined space of grooming -- or removing -- some or all of your pubic hair. They're smaller and have angled heads for working around confined, sensitive areas.
Our focus remains on woman-specific shaving concerns: finding the razors, shavers and epilators that remove hair cleanly without cutting or pinching your skin, even when navigating the tricky curves around knees, calves and underarms, or skirting your bikini line.
ConsumerSearch editors evaluated countless expert and owner reviews for every type of women's shaver currently available for purchase. From there, we narrowed it down to the models with the top reviews for performance and ease of use. Price was a consideration as well, and many of the top shavers we found are readily available at drugstores and supermarkets. Keep in mind that how a razor or shaver feels on your skin and how cleanly it removes your hair matters far more than any marketing gimmick. It may take a little experimentation to find the shaver that's perfect for you, but it's well worth the effort.
Best Women's Shaver
What's the buzz, fuzz?
If fast hair removal and avoiding razor burn are your top priorities, consider an electric shaver. Both of the models listed can be used wet or dry, although that should be taken literally -- reviewers say you'll get the best results if you shave with your skin either totally wet or completely dry, not damp.
Electric shavers may not deliver as close a shave as manual blade razors, but they do offer some advantages. Because the vibrating blades are hidden behind a perforated screen and never actually touch the skin, electric shavers cause fewer nicks and can be used on sensitive underarms. We also found feedback from pregnant women and women with medical conditions who agree that using an electric shaver feels safer and more comfortable than wielding a manual razor.
We found lots of compliments from women with sensitive skin who say the Panasonic Close Curves ES2207P (Est. $35) is particularly good for avoiding razor bumps and burns. This relatively quiet shaver receives glowing reviews for its nick- and pinch-free performance on underarms and bikini lines and good reviews for its performance on legs. The main complaint about shaving legs with the ES2207P is that it doesn't shave quite as close as a manual razor, but then again, no electric razor does.
The Panasonic Close Curves ES2216PC draws similar comments about performance on legs, although it takes multiple passes to achieve its best possible result. At least the Close Curves ES2207P excels at getting where it's going in one fell swoop.
Both the Panasonic ES2207P and the ES2216PC are completely submersible in water, which means they're great for shaving in the shower. Both models draw criticism, however, for batteries that won't hold a charge. This is a particular problem because you can't use these shavers while they're recharging. When their batteries do work, both shavers should last for a week's worth of shaving between charges.
On the upside, reviewers say both shavers are easy to use, and they both come with pop-up bikini-line trimmers that work well, despite some reviewers questioning their size. As long as the battery survives, the ES2207P seems to be particularly tough and is significantly quieter than the ES2216PC, making it a clear top pick.
Panasonic doesn't offer any specific guidelines for how often you should replace the foils and blades on this shaver. Assuming twice-yearly replacements -- more frequently than is typical for most men's shavers, since a woman shaves more surface area -- the ownership cost of these electric shavers works out to $3 per month or $36 per year.
Since the Panasonic ES2207P gives a closer shave than the ES2216PC without the razor bumps and is easy to use, it is our top women's shaver pick.