Many people choose to shave their body hair, especially when outdoor activities may require them to show some skin. Women in particular have been widely removing body hair as early as the 1910s, around the time when Gillette introduced the first women’s razor in 1915. Today, women spend anywhere from $10,000 to $23,000 on hair removal products and services in their lifetimes — whether that’s shaving, waxing or using depilatory creams — according to a survey by the American Laser Centers. For women who prefer to shave their body hair in a pinch, a good quality razor paired with shaving cream can come in handy.
Of course, you aren’t required to remove your body or facial hair. In fact, it might be beneficial to skip shaving if you have active skin infections or pseudofolliculitis barbae, which is inflammation and scars caused by ingrown hairs, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Hadley King explained in our guide to preventing razor burns and ingrown hair. If you do choose to shave, we consulted dermatologists on the best type of razors available for women, as well as what to consider when incorporating one into your shaving routine. We also compiled several expert-recommended razors to consider.
Is there a difference between men’s and women’s razors?
If you’ve walked down the personal care aisle at your local grocery store, you’ve probably seen all kinds of razors lining the walls, from disposable options to more old-fashioned safety razors. You may have also noticed a stark difference in color when scanning the shelves: Razors advertised for men typically encompass dark, traditionally “masculine” colors like black, gray and blue, while razors marketed toward women usually offer a combination of pinks, purples and other lighter shades.
The dermatologists we consulted told us men’s and women’s razors offer many of the same benefits, and you aren’t limited to using one specific type of razor simply because of your gender identity. However, our dermatologists noted there are some key differences between the two to consider that depend on the part of the body you’re looking to shave.
“Men’s and women’s razors are structurally designed to fit the different areas that are most commonly shaved by each — for example, the beard and face area for men compared to the body for women,” explained Dr. Nkem Ugonabo, a board-certified dermatologist at Union Derm.
The razor heads and handles are usually different to target these different areas of the body. “The heads of men's razors tend to be smaller and the blades are more closely packed together, while women's razor heads tend to be larger,” said Dr. William Huang, a board-certified dermatologist at Wake Forest Baptist Health. Both Huang and Ugonabo noted that women’s razors tend to have wider and more curved ergonomic handles, mostly to prevent them from slipping in the shower.
Men’s razors usually have more of a square head, while women’s razors will often sport more rounded and pivoting heads to help shave hard-to-reach and contoured areas of the body, like the bikini area, armpits and the back of the knees, according to Ugonabo. Huang added that because women are more likely to shave delicate areas like the bikini line, razors marketed toward them will usually contain multiple lubrication strips (both on the top and bottom) compared to just one thin strip for men’s razors.
8 best razors for women in 2022
Below, we highlighted some expert-recommended razors for women, all of which include an ergonomic handle, a pivoting head and lubrication strips in line with their guidance. Our experts noted that while men’s and women’s razors have some key differences, you aren’t limited to using one or the other based on its marketing — we included a few razors marketed toward men and gender-neutral razors that experts say work well for women, too.
Best razor for women overall: Gillette Venus
The Gillette Venus Deluxe Smooth Platinum razor can be a great option for people who don’t have skin sensitivities and are looking for a clean shave, according to Dr. Azadeh Shirazi, a board-certified dermatologist at La Jolla Dermatology & Laser Surgery Center. It uses five blades and water-activated lubrication to protect your skin against nicks and cuts, according to the brand. Dr. Marisa Garshick, a board-certified dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology, added that this razor is “easy to use” thanks to its ergonomic handle and anti-slip soft grip.
Best disposable razor for women: BiC
If you’re not keen on constantly replacing your razor’s blades or you simply don’t shave too frequently, a disposable razor can come in handy — and it’s often more affordable upfront than refillable razors. “[BiC’s disposable razors] adjust to your curves, contain four flexible blades and [equip] a coconut milk-containing moisture strip to help soothe the skin with every shave,” Garshick said. Each razor’s handle sports a comfortable rubber grip to avoid accidental slips, according to the brand.
Best hydrating razor for women: Schick
The head of this razor from Schick is infused with a hypoallergenic formula containing shea butter to “hydrate the skin and minimize the potential for irritation,” Garshick noted. She added that the razor contains five blades, which allows for a close and clean shave.
Best subscription razor for women: Billie
Garshick recommended this razor kit from Billie since it includes five sharp blades and is “encased in aloe moisturizer to help achieve a gentle and smooth shave,” she said. The ergonomic handle is also shower-friendly since it comes with a magnetic holder that can house your razor when it’s not in use, Garshick added. The set comes with two refill blades, and Billie’s subscription service can deliver four refills once a month, every two months or every three months, depending on your frequency preference. Select contributor Megan Muessen said she loves using Billie’s razor because it doesn’t cause razor burn, provides a close shave and “leaves a nice waxy glow” on her skin.
Best comfortable razor for women: Gillette Venus
Ugonabo said she likes the Gillette Venus Comfortglide razor because “it pivots well in hard-to-reach areas, has multiple conditioning strips and [uses] three blades.” The ergonomic razor handle — which Gillette says can fit most blade refills across its Venus razor line — is designed with a soft-grip gel to comfortably fit your hands, according to the brand.
Best travel-friendly razor for women: Alleyoop
This compact portable razor set from Alleyoop is a great option if you need to shave on the go. The circular device equips different compartments that house a flexible triple-blade razor, two backup razor cartridges, a refillable spray bottle and a shea butter bar to help hydrate the skin, according to the brand. Each razor cartridge includes lubricating strips formulated with chamomile and olive oil for soothing and hydrating the skin, Alleyoop says.
Best razor for women with sensitive skin: Gillette
If you have sensitive skin that’s prone to razor bumps and ingrown hairs, Shirazi recommended the Gillette SkinGuard Razor due to its two-blade design, which creates less friction and subsequent irritation on the skin (however, it will not give you as close of a shave as other multi-blade options). “The design protects the skin from the blades and it also offers lubrication before and after the blades for a smoother glide,” she said. According to the brand, each blade refill can handle up to one month of shaves.
Best women’s razor with a magnetic holder: Athena Club
The Razor Kit from Athena Club includes two five-blade cartridges, an ergonomic razor handle and a magnetic hook with a uniquely angled shape to help store your razor and keep it rust-free, according to the brand. Garshick said she likes that the razor equips a water-activated moisturizing serum, which helps “minimize irritation and prevent razor burn.” Similar to Billie, Athena Club’s razor kit offers refills through a subscription service that you can personalize based on your shaving frequency — deliveries range from four blades every month to 12 blades every nine months.
What to consider when shopping for women’s razors
If you’re looking to shave different parts of your body, our dermatologists recommended using a women’s razor due to its pivoting head and ergonomic handle. But with so many options on the market, it can be hard to pinpoint the best one for your needs — we consulted our experts on key features to consider when shopping for a women’s razor, including lubrication, blades and handle style.
- Look for a razor with wide lubrication strips. When it comes to shaving large or delicate areas of the body, our experts told us having an adequate amount of lubrication can help the razor properly glide over the skin and prevent irritation, razor burn and bumps. “Women's razors tend to have a moisturizing ring built around the blade, which is perfect if you are shaving the legs but would interfere with coarse hair on the face in men,” Shirazi noted.
- Consider the number of razor blades. Women’s razor heads will sometimes have more blades compared to men’s razors, usually ranging from three to upwards of six blades on each head. More blades provide a cleaner shave since they reduce the number of times you have to go over a specific area, according to Ugonabo. However, they can also lead to more friction and a greater chance of irritation for people with sensitive skin, Garshick said.
- Look for an ergonomic handle for a better grip. Experts told us that maintaining a good grip while shaving is a must when it comes to both the quality of your shave and safety, especially when using a razor in the shower. “Women’s razors should be curved and easier to grip from different angles to help reach different body parts,” Garshick noted.
- Take into account the maintenance of the blades. Since women’s razors are designed to shave larger parts of the body like the legs, it’s important to change out the razor blades as much as possible — and experts told us the quality and price of replacement blades should be a key consideration. “It’s important to change the blade often to avoid a dull razor, which can lead to irritation and razor bumps,” Garshick said. “If you’re prone to razor burns, it’s especially important to use a sharp razor that will get the job done in the fewest number of strokes possible,” which means changing the blade out every few shaves is a good choice, she added.