Summer is in full swing — and with it comes outdoor social activities like swimming, running and camping, meaning you’re likely showing more skin and may want to remove unwanted body hair (though whether you do is completely up to you). That’s where a sharp women’s razor and shaving cream come in handy. Unlike other forms of hair removal like waxing, sugaring and lasering, shaving is a relatively painless and quick option, especially when you’re in a pinch.
You’re not medically required to remove your body or facial hair, of course. In fact, it might be beneficial to skip shaving if you have active infections — like warts and herpes — or pseudofolliculitis barbae, which is inflammation and scars caused by ingrown hairs, board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, MD, previously told us in our guide to razor burns and ingrown hair.
To help inform your at-home shaving experience, we consulted doctors for their expert guidance on how to use razors and common shaving misconceptions. We also gathered a few top-rated women’s razors from reputable retailers like Walmart, Target, Amazon and more.
How to shave, according to doctors
Buying a good razor is only part of the equation. The dermatologists we spoke to also suggested doing a few key things whenever you shave:
- Before you shave, make sure your body is wet to help soften your skin and hair, recommended board-certified dermatologist Azadeh Shirazi, MD.
- Apply your favorite shaving cream to create a “thin barrier” between your skin and the razor blade, board-certified dermatologist William Huang, MD, previously told us in our guide to shaving creams.
- Shave in the direction of the hair growth, using short strokes to prevent razor bumps and ingrown hairs, Shirazi said.
- Rinse the razor after each stroke to help prevent product build-up in between each shave, Shirazi added.
- After you finish your shave, Shirazi recommended drying your razor and storing it in a dry area to avoid bacteria and yeast growth.
Best women’s razors
Best overall women’s razor: BIC
These vibrant disposable women’s razors earned the top spot on our roundup due to their functional features. Beyond their impressive rating, the razor heads feature multiple blades and lubricating strips infused with calming aloe vera and hydrating vitamin E. They boast a 4.7-star average rating from nearly 17,420 reviews on Amazon.
Most affordable women’s razor: Schick
At nearly 50 cents per unit, this 24-pack of disposable women’s razors is the most affordable option on our list. The relatively slim razor heads are equipped with twin blades and the razor has a cushioned handle. Schick’s razors earned a 4.6-star average rating from nearly 260 reviews on Amazon.
Best women’s razor for sensitive skin: Gillette Venus
Sporting an ergonomic handle with cushioning to place your finger, this pivoting razor head features three blades and a moisture strip to help the razor glide along your body. This six-pack of Gillette Venus women’s razors boasts a 4.7-star average rating from more than 10,570 reviews on Amazon. The brand recommends swapping out your disposable razor after eight uses.
Best reusable women’s razor: Billie
Billie The Razor Starter Kit
Shopping contributor Megan Muessen lauded Billie’s razor, noting it doesn’t cause razor burns and “leaves a nice waxy glow” to her skin. In her experience, it provides “the closest shave.” Billie claims its razor head features five nickel-free razor blades and charcoal soap to help the razor glide across the skin.
Best travel-friendly women’s razor: Alleyoop
Alleyoop All-In-One Portable Razor
As you prepare for your summer travel plans, you might want to toss this compact razor set into your suitcase. The circular device features different compartments that houses your razor, two backup razor cartridges, a refillable spray bottle and a shea butter bar for hydration. It is available in two colors — Dusty Pink and Navy — and received a 4.7-star average rating from more than 20 reviews on Alleyoop.
Best women’s razor for the face: Tinkle
This set is the No. 1 bestselling eyebrow hair trimmer on Amazon and it received a 4.8-star average rating from more than 24,500 reviews on the retailer’s site. You can utilize these razors to groom your brows in between salon appointments and remove unwanted peach fuzz on your face. They feature a stainless steel metal blade and come with a protective covering.
Hair removal myths, debunked
We spoke to a medical expert to clarify common misconceptions about hair removal.
- Shaving doesn’t make the hair grow back thicker, according to board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD. “When you shave, hairs are cut at a blunt angle — this gives the appearance of dark hair, when really the hair is just cut at a cross section,” he said.
- Waxing doesn’t result in finer hair growing back, either. “When you wax, a new hair is formed and initially appears finer but over time would get just as thick as it was before and no different than it would be if it were shaved,” explained Zeichner.
Catch up on the latest from NBC News Shopping guides and recommendations and download the NBC News app for full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak.