The Gillette Venus Embrace's five blades offer a close, clean shave with no nicks or cuts for most people, even around knees and other challenging curves. The plastic around the head can make it a little hard to maneuver around the bikini line, but the Embrace is otherwise easy to hold, use and rinse. The blades even seem to last longer than those of other Venus models.
Gets every hair. The Gillette Venus Embrace is beloved by experts and users alike. Sophia Panych at Allure magazine reports that "it gives a close, smooth shave and maneuvers beautifully around curves." The editors of Good Housekeeping say, "it glides oh-so-smoothly while cleanly removing every hair." And the editors of Choice magazine -- Australia's version of ConsumerReports.org -- give it the highest score for skin protection and a tie for best shaving performance.
Users almost always agree, even those who struggled with nicks and cuts before, and experience a clean, close shave on the first pass with the Venus Embrace. A common complaint is that too much plastic around the head makes it difficult to maneuver the razor around the bikini area.
Refills get pricey, but last longer. The Gillette Venus Embrace's shave isn't painful, but the ownership cost is: Replacing the blades twice a month works out to a cost of about $8.50 per month or $102 per year. The good news is that we found a few comments that the Venus Embrace cartridges last longer than other models. Also, you can use any Venus-style cartridge with this shaver handle -- so feel free to mix and match.
As far as the handle itself, Panych at Allure magazine writes that it "fits comfortably in the palm of the hand." Users agree, saying the razor is easy to grip and rinses easily. Sometimes the razor handle breaks while shaving, though, and we found several comments that the moisture gel strip dries out and hinders shaving after just a few uses.
1. Choice magazine
A total of 13 razors were evaluated by Choice magazine; ratings were issued for shaving performance, skin protection and ease of use. The Gillette Venus Embrace ties for first place overall, with good scores for handling, protection and overall shaving performance.
Review: Women's Razor Reviews, Rebecca Ciaramidaro, Nov. 23, 2012
2. Good Housekeeping
Testers with the Good Housekeeping Research Institute evaluated 19 manual razors and picked their six favorites in several categories. The Gillette Venus Embrace is deemed best refillable overall; "It glides oh-so-smoothly while cleanly removing every hair," write the editors.
Review: Best Razors, Editors of Good Housekeeping, Not dated
The Gillette Venus Embrace has appeared in Allure's "Best of Beauty" roundups for four years running (2009 to 2012). It's clear that some hands-on testing was conducted, but the author doesn't say who did it or how it was done. The actual review is extremely short, mentioning a few positives but no drawbacks.
Review: Gillette Venus Embrace, Sophia Panych, Not dated
After nearly 600 user reviews, the Gillette Venus Embrace retains an impressive 4.5-star rating on Amazon.com. Quite a few of these reviews are the result of free razors received through a third-party marketing firm, so we take them with a very large grain of salt.
Review: Gillette Venus Embrace Womens Razor, 1 Razor 2 Razor Refill Cartridges Kit, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of June 2013
More than 50 users give the Gillette Venus Embrace a 4-star average rating on Drugstore.com. We scanned through these reviews to get the general tone but disregarded many of them because the users disclosed receiving complimentary razors to test and review, courtesy of a third-party marketing group.
Review: Gillette Venus Embrace Razor, Blue/Green, Contributors to Drugstore.com, As of June 2013
About four dozen reviewers give the Gillette Venus Embrace a 4.4-star average rating on CVS.com. Many of the reviews appear to have been routed from the Gillette Venus website but, because they have a nice mixture of positive remarks and criticism, we believe they're trustworthy.
Review: Gillette Venus Embrace Razor, Contributors to CVS.com, As of June 2013